News

Parliamentary committee to investigate report into HS2 complaints

A powerful parliamentary committee is looking into the complaints process at HS2 following a damning report from the  Parliamentary ombudsman. The Parliament’s Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has set up an inquiry into the Parliamentary ombudsman’s report on the way  High Speed 2 Ltd (HS2) handled a complaint  and whether HS2 could improve its engagement with residents affected by the scheme.

In November 2015, the ombudsman published its report of an investigation into a complaint about HS2 Ltd, which examined HS2 Ltd’s communication and engagement with a particular group of residents, including how it had handled complaints. It found that “overall HS2 Ltd's actions fell below the reasonable standards we would expect, so much so that they constituted maladministration.” 

The report made a number of recommendations about the steps HS2 Ltd should take to put matters right and to improve its service.

Given the seriousness of the findings, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has now decided to conduct a short inquiry on the issues raised and is inviting written evidence on the following key areas raised in the report: 

  • The quality and content of the ombudsman’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 committee is looking to conduct a swift inquiry, focusing solely on communication, engagement and complaint handling, and wants to receive submissions by Thursday 11 February 2016.

The announcement of the inquiry follows hot on the heels of the news earlier this month that HS2 Ltd is recruiting an independent construction commissioner to look into any complaints during the building of Britain’s new high speed rail network.