The search to replace Dame Julie Mellor as the parliamentary and health service ombudsman has commenced, with job advertisements placed in prominent media publications.
Mellor had resigned back in July, after a four-year tenure in the role.
It has been revealed that the executive had failed to act on information that revealed her then deputy, Mick Martin, had been involved in covering up the sexual harassment of an NHS trust director.
The advert for the job suggests that it is “one of the most important and challenging roles in the public sector”.
Text included in the advert goes on to describe the requirements of the position.
“The next ombudsman will need to be able to galvanise and motivate staff across the 450 strong organisation to deliver high quality and robust investigations and to make sure that the lessons are learnt across the public sector”.
While the decision has ultimately been forced among the authorities due to circumstances, it is perhaps also a timely appointment.
The government was already planning major reforms to the PHSO service to create a new public service ombudsman, with the intention of updating governance structures and accountability.
Currently the ombudsman exists as a “corporation sole” with no statutory board and can only be removed by a vote of both houses of Parliament.
An independent report by Sir Alex Allan into failures by the ombudsman to act on concerns about Mr Martin revealed Dame Julie did not read a copy of an employment tribunal judgement when she received it in July 2015.
Sir Alex’s report revealed she had also received a letter from Monitor, now NHS Improvement, warning her that Mr Martin was named and criticised in the judgement.
She only read the judgement after HSJ reported the link between Mr Martin and events at the Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust in February 2016. Mr Martin resigned in March.
Meanwhile, the PHSO has also appointed Amanda Campbell as its new chief executive.
Campbell joins the PHSO from the Home Office where she worked as director general of immigration enforcement.
She has also served as a non-executive director at Central and North West London Foundation Trust.