• Adverts for new ombudsman posted in national press and online
  • Dame Julie Mellor has appointed Amanda Campbell as new PHSO chief executive
  • Final panel interviews for successor to take place at end of November

The search to replace Dame Julie Mellor as the parliamentary and health service ombudsman is underway, with job adverts posted online and in the national press.

Dame Julie, who joined the PHSO in 2012, announced her resignation in July after HSJ exposed her failure 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 PHSO has also appointed Amanda Campbell as its new chief executive. Ms 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.

She will lead the PHSO’s executive team and will be responsible for day to day management of the service.

Adverts for the ombudsman role have appeared in The Sunday Times and online. The search is being led by recruitment firm Gattenby Sanderson, which also recruited Mr Martin in 2013 and recommended him as a strong candidate.

The application deadline is 17 October, with preliminary interviews due to start at the end of the month. The final panel interviews will take place at the end of November.

The advert said the job was “one of the most important and challenging roles in the public sector”. “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,” it said.

The government is planning major reforms to the PHSO service to create a new public service ombudsman and to update 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.