Resolution Statement: Complaint 02323-15 McHale v Mail Online

    • Date complaint received

      18th May 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement: Complaint 02323-15 McHale v Mail Online 

Summary of complaint

1. Elaine McHale complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online had published an article, headlined “£160,000-a-year council boss who left post after boy 5, was killed in child abuse scandal now sacked from next social work job – paying £110,000 a year – after concerns vulnerable children were put at risk”, on 10 March 2015, which raised a breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. 

2. The complainant identified what she believed to be a number of inaccuracies in the article: her salary had not been reported inaccurately; there had been no child abuse “scandal” at the council where she had previously worked; she was not employed by the second council on a £110,000 salary, but paid at a daily rate; the timing of her departure from the second council coincidentally coincided with conviction of a local man for killing his son, and to imply a connection between the two events was misleading. 

3. The newspaper did not believe that its article was inaccurate or significantly misleading. It said that its description of the case reviews had been accurate, and it had used figures which were publicly available. Nonetheless, as an attempt to resolve the complaint, the newspaper offered to make some minor amendments to the article. 

Relevant Code Provisions

4. Clause 1 (Accuracy) 

i) The press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures. 

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published. 

Mediated outcome

5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore instigated an investigation into the matter.  

6. The newspaper offered to make further amendments to the online article. 

7. The complainant said that these amendments would resolve the matter to her satisfaction. 

8. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code. 

Date complaint received: 28/03/2015 

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 18/05/2015