IPSO publishes implementation update on external Jeffrey Review

IPSO has published an update on its implementation of recommendations by the second independent external review of the press regulator published by the former senior civil servant Sir Bill Jeffrey.

A former Political Director in the Northern Ireland Office, Sir Bill was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence from 2005 until his retirement in November 2010. 

The update also includes further details on IPSO’s response to the recommendations. 

In 2022, Sir Bill was appointed by IPSO to conduct a review into how effectively it is fulfilling its role as regulator of the UK newspaper, magazine, and digital news industries, including processes for assessing and responding to complaints, and its wider work to improve media standards. 

The Review, which concluded the regulator was “well-led and managed” and “operating independently”, included 29 recommendations across 13 different areas, including governance, management, funding and communications. It found that the regulator could do more to promote some of its work and made several suggestions to increase public confidence in IPSO, including by improving accessibility and transparency around some aspects of its operations. 

Many of the recommendations have already been put into action. The Review called for more guidance on digital and online delivery of news. IPSO has published new guidance on the prominence of corrections and adjudications, when required by the Complaints Committee, in digital media. As called for in the Review, it has begun work considering the implications for the industry and regulation from the use of artificial intelligence. 

What IPSO is doing: 

  • In January 2024, IPSO issued guidance on digital corrections; it has also begun discussing with publishers the issues arising in dealing with complaints regarding online comments 
  • It has introduced a new translation service to improve accessibility for people who don’t speak English as a first language 
  • Through its biannual publisher consultation process it gathered information from publishers on their use of artificial intelligence, which will inform its regulatory activity in this area 
  • IPSO has integrated Scottish law considerations into its existing formal guidance and embedded this requirement in its future guidance development process 
  • IPSO has incorporated information about funding arrangements in its annual report, effective as of the 2022 report 
  • It reported data on the time taken to handle complaints in its 2022 annual report for the first time 
  • IPSO is making investments in improving public awareness and confidence in its work, including developing a new website to launch in 2024 with an improved complaints form, better signposting to alternative regulators, and more prominent information on finances and funding 
  • Work is ongoing on other recommendations, including proposed changes to the editorial monitoring process and improved communications about IPSO’s arbitration service to potential users. 

The update also includes IPSO’s comment on issues that the Review found should be subject to further discussion by IPSO’s Board, including the possible introduction of new sanctions for upheld complaints and changes to IPSO’s Articles of Association. 

IPSO chair Lord (Edward) Faulks KC said:

“The Jeffrey Review reaffirmed the benefits of IPSO’s independence as a regulator and the strength of its processes, but also identified opportunities where we could build on the experience that we have developed in regulating the press since we were established in 2014. 

“This was an important review of IPSO’s governance and operations, and we have taken time to consider its proposals seriously and in detail. We remain hugely grateful to Sir Bill for the care and attention with which he and his team conducted this review.” 

IPSO chief executive Charlotte Dewar said:

“This independent external review was an important check on our approach as a regulator. The thorough examination of our governance, funding and operations found that IPSO was operating independently and had influenced the industry for the better. We are now pleased to be able to publish an update on our implementation of the recommendations and full response on some of the broader issues raised in relation to IPSO’s governance arrangements.

“Sir Bill’s review was thorough and considered. We thank him for him insight and wisdom.

Click here to read the full response and implementation update to the recommendations. 

You can read the Jeffrey Review  here. 

 Originally published 31 January 2024