About standards investigations

IPSO can undertake a standards investigation to investigate where it has serious concerns about the behaviour or actions of one or more of its members. IPSO’s Board makes the decision about whether or not to launch a standards investigation after looking at information gathered by staff on complaints, the whistleblowing hotline and members of the public.

IPSO may require that a standards investigation takes place where:

  • there may have been serious and systemic breaches of the Editors’ Code
  • there has been one or more failure or failures to comply with the requirements of the Board
  • an annual statement identifies significant issues of concern either in relation to a single incident or a pattern of significant, serial or widespread breaches of the Editors' Code
  • statutory authority reports identify substantial Editors' Code compliance issues
  • in exceptional circumstances, IPSO reasonably considers that an investigation is desirable because substantial legal issues or Editors’ Code compliance issues are raised.

IPSO can impose one or more of the following sanctions if it decides that the concerns are sufficiently serious: 

  • publish an adjudication, which may include a requirement to address the concerns raised
  • impose a fine on the member(s) of up to £1 million
  • require the member(s) to pay the reasonable costs of the investigation
  • require a publisher to submit a quarterly statement for an agreed period
  • terminate the members(s) membership of IPSO.