The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry as a follow up to a report from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman published in November, which found that HS2 Ltd were guilty of maladministration and attempted blackmail.
The report by Dame Judy Mellor was scathing of the quango, saying they had repeatedly failed to communicate with residents and frequently missed their own deadlines. As we said at the time, whilst the Ombudsmans’ report was concerned with only one community, it could have been written about any of the places HS2 is planned to go through, as HS2 Ltd has systematically failed to listen the communities along the line or to treat them like human beings.
Basically, the initial report only happened because one switched-on resident, Mr Jonathan Loescher, knew that by collating all his complaints he had the option to go to the PHSO. This is why the PHSO only looked at the hamlet of Flats Grave Lane and Knox Lane, but now the PACAC will look at everywhere and they are calling for written evidence on:
- The quality and content of the PHSO’s report
- The quality of HS2 Ltd’s communication and engagement with residents who may be affected by HS2
- The way in which HS2 Ltd deals with complaints about its engagement with residents
- Ways in which HS2 Ltd could improve its communication and engagement with residents who may be affected by HS2
- Ways in which HS2 Ltd could improve its complaint handling procedures
The inquiry will solely look at communication, engagement and complaint handling. Evidence must be submitted by 11th February 2016. Submissions that go substantially outside the terms of reference may not be accepted by the Committee.
Those wishing to submit may find this guidance about making a submission helpful. Key points to note are that submissions must:
- be original material prepared for the Committee (and so should not include copies or long extracts of previously written material, such as letters)
- not refer in detail to individual cases except to give examples of points being made about, for example, HS2’s communication, engagement and complaint handling
- not identify individuals (except the submitters themselves)