IPSO’S System’s Handler Mel Huggett explains a little about her role and how IPSO can help you.
My job is about being ready to advise upon any and every situation. No day at IPSO is ever the same, and the advice we give to each person who calls us is bespoke and tailored based on the specific circumstances.
Behind each call is a person who needs IPSO’s help. From the mother who has lost her son in a tragic suicide, to the shop keeper who is upset about a letter in a local paper written by an unhappy customer. From the elderly gentleman who feels confused and needs redirecting to another organisation, to somebody who feels they are being harassed needing emergency help. Whatever the situation, we help with it all.
Our job is to be sympathetic and honest with each caller. We remain impartial and advise them around our anchor – the Editors’ Code. Even where the person who’s calling is raising a concern that we can’t help with under the Code, we take the time to explain why, and do our best to offer any practical support we can, such as a details for another organisation that may be able to help.
I think this job opens your eyes to situations real people find themselves in each day and how these affect a person's job, community, reputation and every other aspect of their world.
IPSO is often the first port of call after someone sees a piece that they wish to complain about, so sometimes people feel very emotional when they call us. Therefore rightly or wrongly, the call handlers are subjected to a person’s every raw emotion, whether it be anger, shock, disbelief, embarrassment or grief.
Through these conversations, I get a real insight into how different characters handle different situations. Sometimes I can't help but wonder about my own attitude to life and how I would react if I found myself in similar shoes to the person I am advising.
I like to think of IPSO as almost like another type of emergency service. As with the other services, the public hope that they will never need us, but should they at any point find themselves thrust into a media spotlight and feel lost, we will help to advise and guide them.
We are a free service which is run 24/7 and 365 days of the year. We can offer advice about many different things, from making a complaint to providing support with harassment.
If you would like to contact us, you can find out how to here. Chances are, you'll be speaking to me as your first port of call!