A curious invitation

by David Czarnetzki

Imagine my surprise at receiving an invitation, from the Ombudsman, to take part in a research project on 20th or 21st February this year. It involved joining a one hour online call to look at the prototype of a website and chatting to a researcher about what I see. For my trouble I would receive  £80 compensation.

My first thought was this is a scam given the history of our groups non existent relationship with the Ombudsman since his meeting with about 30 of us in October 2017 after which he wrote to Della Reynolds on 22nd November 2017, the letter including:

“I cannot continue to engage with you, as convenor of PHSOtheFacts, whilst you continue to make baseless and irresponsible accusations against this organisation” (aka telling truth to power)

I spent considerable effort to identify whether this meant Della as an individual or the group as a whole. Eventually, on 22nd June 2021, I received a response stating:

“Given your clear association and identification with PHSOtheFACTS and, therefore with their refusal to behave reasonably, we must take the same approach to correspondence with you as we do correspondence from PHSOtheFACTS”.

Having identified the invitation was not a scam and that PHSO have engaged with two companies called NOMENSA to carry out the research and BUNNYFIELD to recruit the participants for this project, I wondered whether the Ombudsman had a change of heart by sending it to me. Not so because on 13th February, the response was:

“We can clarify the position of the Ombudsman has not changed. We have requested an external company carry out research and improve the user journey. Those who have made Freedom of Information requests were contacted and asked if they wanted to take part in the process. I am sure you will agree that, in line with 2 of our 4 values, Transparency and Fairness, the result will be of more value if we include a cross section of people and not just those who agree with us”.

Readers may disagree with me but I could not, in all conscience, take part in a PHSO project thus allowing the Ombudsman to ‘pick and chose’ whether or not to engage with PHSOtheFACTS.  I have conveyed this response to PHSO.

It will be interesting to see how much this project costs the public purse in the fullness of time but in the interim, my message to Mr. Behrens must be:

“Look at your shocking reviews on Trust Pilot. Hundreds of people agree with us. The service to complainants has been a disaster on your watch. We can only hope things change for the better in a year or so”. (i.e. once you retire)


I invite readers to check out the websites of NOMENSA and BUNNYFIELD. You might find them interesting and perhaps useful.

It is clear that PHSO prefer their feedback to be filtered through private PR agencies. That way, you get the results you pay for. Raw feedback is simply unpalatable to them. They just don’t want to know.

PHSO customer service worker with fingers in ears and eyes closed