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About us

PHSO is an independent national ombudsman service. We make final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England, UK government departments and some other public organisations. We do this fairly and without taking sides. 

We look into complaints where an individual or group believes there has been injustice or hardship because an organisation has not acted properly or fairly, or has provided a poor service, and not put things right. Our recommendations lead to organisations making changes so that others have a more positive experience PHSO also shares the findings from casework to help drive improvements in public services. Our legislation enables us to lay reports in Parliament - to help it hold the organisations providing those services to account. 

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PHSO challenges social injustice giving people a voice and changing lives for the better

PHSO publishes summaries of individual cases where failings are identified. A single complaint can result in widespread improvements. In recent years, PHSO published cases from individual complainants affected by the Windrush scandal. These cases highlight the devastating impact that failings can have on individuals.  

Our vision and values

Our vision is to be an exemplary public services ombudsman by providing an independent, impartial and fair complaints resolution service, while using casework to help raise standards and improve public services. Our values are:

Independence, fairness, excellence and transparency

Independence: We are independent from organisations we investigate, holding them to account for service failure.

Fairness: We listen carefully to complainants and the organisations we investigate and we make impartial and fair decisions based on relevant evidence.

Excellence: We learn from engagement with complainants and organisations we investigate to improve our accessibility, efficiency and effectiveness and the quality of our decisions.

Transparency: We communicate with those using our service and then publish information about our findings, how we are performing, and how organisations we investigate have implemented our recommendations.

Strategic objectives Man on the phone speaking to a client

  • That people who use public services have a better awareness of the role of the Ombudsman and can easily access our service

  • That people we work with receive a high quality, empathetic and timely service, according to international Ombudsman principles

  • That we contribute to a culture of learning and continuous improvement, leading to high standards in public service. 

    Office culture

    At PHSO our motto is ‘Live well, work well’. We want to inspire, guide and support you in being your healthiest and happiest self. We are growing through an exciting growth period and are keen to welcome applications from individuals with a diverse background.

    Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

    Equality, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to the way we work. We are committed to maintaining a culture where our employees can be themselves at work and perform at their best. We understand that it is essential that our employees are able to represent and understand the diverse community we serve.

    D&I at PHSO collage

    To do this we recognise the importance of having a workforce made up of individuals with their own unique identities at all levels and we actively encourage applications from individuals with diverse identities such as people who are LGBTQI+, from Black, Asian, Mixed Ethnicity and any Other Ethnic Group, with a disability, impairment, learning difference or long-standing condition, with caring responsibilities or any other self-identified diversity.

    Our employee led networks provide opportunities for staff to participate and contribute to making PHSO an inclusive organisation. Participation is actively encouraged and supported. Our current staff networks are:

    Staff at PHSO on the computer

    Break the Stigma – raising awareness of the importance of safeguarding mental health and wellbeing of staff in the workplace. It engenders an open culture to talk about mental health issues and is supported by a number of mental health first aiders.

    Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Forum - provides peer support for colleagues to raise issues, concerns and ideas in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion. It also promotes an open and inclusive culture where staff can celebrate diversity.

    Staff at PHSO speaking in the office

    Pride at PHSO - promotes and represents the interests of LGBT+ staff employed at PHSO, with participatingPride at PHSO open to both LGBT+ staff and allies. The group identifies and shares good practice, raises awareness and provides support, mentoring and coaching to LGBT+ staff.

    Wellbeing Ambassadors - help us to embed wellbeing activity across the organisation, supporting colleagues to use and understand the tools and resources available in our ‘Live Well, Work Well’ programme.

    Disability Confident Scheme - we are a Disability Confident organisation playing a role in changing attitudes for the better. We make sure that disabled people and people with long term health Disability Confident Employerconditions have the opportunities to fulfil their potential in the workplace. Any disabled applicant who applies under the scheme and who meets the minimum selection criteria will automatically progress to the next stage of the recruitment process, which may be an assessment or interview.

    Staff at PHSO writing on the board

    The best piece of advice I could give to someone thinking of applying to PHSO is go for it! Whatever your background, culture, religion or social standing. If you think you can do the job, have great integrity, and are caring and respectful, then just go for it. PHSO really welcomes diversity, so if you think you might be a bit quirky, know that you’ll be welcomed and fit in great. I’m a mature in years, working class woman, who is just one of the ‘gang’ and proud to work where I do.