PHSO initial response to my complaint about BEIS

After I exhausted the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) complaints procedure and they failed to acknowledge or do anything about their misleading imperial units consultation document or biased survey, I sent off my BEIS complaints form dated 31 October 2022 to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) via my MP. After many months, I got an initial response.

On 17 April 2023, the PHSO rang me to discuss my complaint against BEIS. I expressed what was wrong with their consultation document and survey. Later that day, they emailed me an initial response to my complaint about BEIS publishing a consultation document with various factual errors and a biased survey, which appeared to be designed to get a public response that ministers wanted. Ministers want us to go back to imperial units, so they designed a survey where there was no option to say “No” to imperial units.

The PHSO told me that my “complaint to BEIS, its response and the consultation itself all form part of the evidence we can consider”.

PHSO wrote the following Complaint Summary in their email:

“You complain that on 3 June 2022 the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published a consultation ‘Choice on units of measurement: markings and sales’ which was not fit for purpose. You say the background to the consultation was misleading and the consultation questions did not allow the public to choose from a full range of possible views.  Therefore, you say, the consultation was not conducted in line with the Civil Service Code, specifically the Principles of Honesty and Objectivity.

You say you are disappointed that you and other respondents were unable to clearly indicate your views because of the design of the survey.

You would like BEIS to reconsider whether it should make any recommendations using the information gathered from the consultation, in light of the claimed failings. [As mentioned on the phone, we cannot tell parliament whether or not to change laws, so I have not included this aspect of what you said you would like to achieve.]”

PHSO described their next steps after the Complaint Summary section:

“As we discussed, I will first think carefully about whether we consider there is an impact on you which has not been put right. This is because we would not uphold a complaint if you have not sustained an injustice, even if something did go wrong.

I will give you an update or our decision before the end of April.”

In other words, I had to suffer personally for PHSO to uphold my complaint. I hope to hear from PHSO before the end of April, which is less than two weeks from today. When I do, I’ll keep you posted. Watch this space.

You can find the “Choice on units of measurement: markings and sales” consultation at:

Further reading:

2 thoughts on “PHSO initial response to my complaint about BEIS”

  1. So here is the similar brick wall as with my experience .
    “This is because we would not uphold a complaint if you have not sustained an injustice”.

    That is the catch all cop out. You, nor I, nor probably any of us have suffered a “loss or injustice” (or at least cannot prove it, assuming mental torture is not an injustice).
    As with trading standards, you really do have to be factually ripped off before any complaint is considered.

    That I suspect, is the end of the matter as far as PHSO is concerned.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. …[nothing to do with metrication] … I’ve had similar types of correspondence from the PHSO.
    Like ‘b’ above, before the PHSO will even consider investigating a matter – and that’s when the individual/victim has provided heaps of evidence etc. – the PHSO will ONLY bother to proceed if there has been substantive hardship or large financial loss.
    The PHSO does have a sort of complaints procedure – that’s after the final decision has been made by the investigating case officer . However, it is highly unlikely anything will be achieved – except you wasting more time, effort, and perhaps expense – ‘hitting your head against a brick wall’- another headache!


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