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The Edwardian Hotel, Manchester


The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) provides an independent complaints-handling service that deals with individuals, encourages improvements in public services and informs public policy. They make final decisions on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England, UK governments departments and other public organisations. They currently have approximately 600 employees based across two main sites in Manchester and London.

Our brief for this event was based on a previous successful event that took place in 2021, in partnership with the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), which featured debate and discussion on various themes including branding, reaching marginalised and vulnerable citizens, and the development of a competency framework.

PHSO wanted to host a 2-day hybrid meeting that would bring 35 colleagues in-person and a further 40 colleagues online from over 30 countries together in order to debate and discuss a range of themes related to the roles and functions of an Ombudsman.

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The event

As PHSO had already booked a venue, The Edwardian Hotel - Manchester, we were able to immediately start planning the set up and design of the event. We needed to ensure that the event would run smoothly for both those in the room as well as online.

We created a registration system that would allow attendees to pick between the two attendance options, which, as well as collating all their information in one place, meant we could send out communications from one system to cover both attendee groups.

An integral part of this project was the AV infrastructure that meant a seamless transition in the hybrid environment from virtual to in-person. To facilitate this we used both zoom for the main meeting and Vmix in order to bring our presenters into the call whilst giving our technical team a chance to run through a quick tech check with them to ensure they could present without issue.

We also included push-to-talk style microphones so that the virtual audience could hear any speaker as well as those in the room.

Each session had a chair who would facilitate the session, guide the time-keeping and monitor both environments for any questions/comments. They worked with our technical team to have the speaker brought onto screen at the correct time so that all could participate in the discussion.

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The outcome

The Ombudsman and their senior leadership teams were able to have a stimulating and informative two days to easily communicate their experiences and opinions with others in similar positions. These were not blocked by any financial burdens of having to be on site which meant the event was open to all regardless of circumstance leading to a more open and equal discussion.

The client came away feeling as though their attention was fully on the event and not having to worry about the small details, which is of course, what we strive for!

“The support in the lead up to and during our conference from Blackberry events was vital in its success. Over the two days we were in safe hands knowing they were taking care of everything behind the scenes from logistics to tech, giving all our delegates a positive experience.”

Martin Deller, Head of Communications, PHSO

Blackberry Events - Meet The Team
Blackberry Events - Meet The Team
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“The Blackberry team were great at getting to know what was most important for our event and hit the ground running planning all the details. On the day, the team were fantastic in their co-ordination and ensured the 2-day event ran smoothly. Most importantly, the team were reliable which meant that we were able to fully participate, without needing to worry about the logistics! The team were fantastic and crucial to the success of the event, and I can’t thank them enough.”

Faye Glover, Private Secretary to the Ombudsman, PHSO