Sir Bill Jeffrey to carry out External Review

The former senior civil servant Sir Bill Jeffrey will conduct the second External Review of the independence and effectiveness of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)

The External Review will examine and report on how effectively IPSO is fulfilling its role as regulator of the UK newspaper, magazine and digital news industries, including its arrangements for assessing and responding to complaints. It will examine whether IPSO has been faithful to its publicly stated principles and values and consider how IPSO regulation has adapted to changes in its external environment. It will consider how IPSO should prepare for the future and consider the resources needed to achieve its objectives and make recommendations where appropriate. 

Sir Bill was selected by IPSO’s independent Appointment Panel, chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Triesman. 

Sir Bill served as Political Director in the Northern Ireland Office from 1998 to 2002 and was Security and Intelligence Coordinator at the time of the attacks on London in July 2005. He was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence from 2005 until his retirement in November 2010.  

In 2016, at the request of the then Secretary of State for Justice, he undertook a review of the arrangements for providing advocacy in the criminal courts in England and Wales. He is also Chair of Trustees of the Police Foundation, the leading independent research institution and think tank on policing in the UK. 

Lord Faulks, Chairman of IPSO, welcomed Sir Bill’s appointment: 

“We are pleased that Sir Bill Jeffrey has agreed to take on the task of providing this important external and fully independent scrutiny of IPSO’s work. He brings a wealth of organisational leadership experience, which will be invaluable to this review and to the regulation of the press and the promotion of highest standards of reporting. We encourage people to engage with this important work.” 

Sir Bill had this to say on his appointment:  

“The arrangements for regulating the press, including the handling of complaints, are vital elements of any democratic society. I am very much looking forward to getting to grips with IPSO and its work, and hope all with an interest in the matter will engage positively with my Review.” 

The first review in 2016 was carried out by Sir Joseph Pilling KCB, who had also held senior positions in the Civil Service. 

The Review will begin on Monday 3 October, and its report is expected to be published early in 2023. Sir Bill will be seeking submissions from relevant stakeholders, and will also welcome input from others. There will be a dedicated website, independent of IPSO, with an email address to which submissions may be sent. 

Published 22 September 2024