COVID-19 PPO Complaints – PPO publish a new learning lessons bulletin

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has released their 10th complaints learning lessons bulletin, which is part of a COVID-19 related series of findings and learnings. This bulletin provides an update on the complaints we have received or completed in the context of COVID-19.

In March 2020, the imposition of the national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic brought substantial changes to how prisons, probation services and immigration removal centres (IRCs) were able to function.

The pandemic also affected the work of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO). From mid-March 2020 to early July 2020, we were not able to access our offices and all our staff had to work from home. We had to be innovative about how we maintained our services.

This is the first PPO report to consider the impact of COVID-19 on our work. It focuses on the effect of the beginning of the pandemic on our complaints work, and presents emerging findings based on analysis and case studies of complaints received or completed between April 2020 and September 2020. It also draws on the issues raised in messages left on our answerphone and by email to our office in the same period.

It is clear that the effects of the pandemic will be far-reaching and long-lasting. We will be publishing further reports to track the longer term impact on our complaints work, as well as reports focusing on fatal incident investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sue McAllister CB
Prisons and Probation Ombudsman