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.

Standards investigation panelists

Rachel Childs

Rachel Childs is a former headteacher who has held leadership positions across the primary and secondary sectors. She is currently Head of English for Alternative Education in West Berkshire, where she works closely with teenagers experiencing mental and physical ill health. She has served as an ASA Council Member since 2011 and is the current Senior Independent Member. She also sits on the Portman Group’s Independent Complaints Panel.


Keith Grehan

Keith Grehan is a Managing Director and co-Founder of Novacies Capital and has spent over a decade in the UK & Irish banking market. He is a Trustee of the Field Lane Foundation, a national charity providing innovative care and accommodation for vulnerable families and adults with learning disabilities. He also serves as a mentor to early stage companies in the technology arena.


Sarah Havlin

Sarah Havlin is the Certification Officer of Northern Ireland at the Regulator of Trade Unions and Employer Associations. A solicitor by profession, she moved into regulation, public policy, formal investigative and inquiry work and the chairing and managing of judicial and adjudication processes in a variety of sectors in Northern Ireland.  A former lecturer in law and legal practice at Queen’s University Belfast and the Open University, she has been a fellow of the Irish Institute of Boston College since 2013.


Dermott Horrigan

Dermott Horrigan retired from Lancashire Police after 35 years’ service, 27 as an investigator at all ranks from constable to detective chief superintendent. He has considerable experience in leading investigations and is an experienced practitioner relating to the acquisition and exploitation of intelligence and the use of sensitive covert tactics. He has worked with the Home Office and national law enforcement partners to develop and shape the landscape relating to the identification and targeting of serious organised crime, particularly in respect of disruption, undercover policing, lawful interception of communications and the mapping of organised crime groups.


Suzanne McCarthy

Suzanne McCarthy is currently Chairman of Depaul UK, a national charity focused on youth homelessness, the Southwark and Lambeth Strategic Health Partnership, the Joint Audit Panel for the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime and the Metropolitan Police Service and the Fundraising Regulator’s Standards Committee. She is a member of Advertising Standards Authority and the Architects Registration Board. She acts as the Independent Appointed Person for the Greater London Authority and is a member of the Disciplinary and Admissions Committee of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Suzanne is a qualified solicitor.


Tom Manson

Tom recently retired as a Senior Officer in the Metropolitan Police Service and has extensive operational experience in Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism. Since leaving policing, Tom has continued his personal development and focused on using his 30 years’ experience to add value helping others. He is currently a Specialist Inspector for Her Majesty’s Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) where he conducts reviews of Policing in relation to Counter Terrorism and Serious and Organised Crime. Additionally, he is an Associate of the College of Policing where he delivers Senior Officer Investigation training.


Kim Parsons

Kim Parsons is a solicitor, who also works as an Ombudsman for the Financial Ombudsman Service, an Adjudicator and Legal Chair for the Solicitors Regulation Authority and as a Legally Qualified Chair/Legal Assessor for the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. She previously worked as a legal adviser and civil servant for the DSS and Department of Health, the Pensions Regulator and the Pensions Ombudsman, working in executive and leadership roles for around 15 years.


Jen Williams

Jen Williams retired from Greater Manchester Police after completing 30 years service.  Retiring as a Detective Superintendent.  She has experience or investigating serious crime, covert investigation , intelligence and professional standards including corruption.  She was also a Senior Identification Manager and as the National co-ordinator for the police service she co-ordinated the policing response to deaths of British Nationals overseas including the air crashes of MH17 and German Wings.

Damian Bates

Damian Bates has been a journalist for almost three decades, rising to become an editor and editor-in-chief. He was a member of the Editors’ Code Committee for almost five years and former chairman of the Scottish Newspaper Society’s Editors’ Committee. He currently operates as a consultant specialising in strategic communications, leadership and public affairs. Alongside his consultancy, Abraitis and Company, he is the chairman of an international marketing company, non-executive director and author.


Paul Connolly

Paul Connolly is a media consultant and managing director of a video production & marketing company. He was formerly Group Managing Editor of Independent News & Media, publishers of the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life, until 2014. Paul is a former board member of the UK Society of Editors and a former member of the accreditation board of the National Council for the Training of Journalists.


Richard Walker

Richard Walker is the former editor of the Sunday Herald and The National and is currently consultant editor with the National. He has also worked in senior editorial positions with the Daily Record, the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.


Neil White

Neil was editor-in-chief of four newspapers, including the Derby Telegraph, and their associated websites until June 2016. Since then, he has been running his own media consultancy. He trained at the Birmingham Post & Mail and then worked at national news agency UK News and the Nottingham Post. He has been an editorial consultant for the National Council for the Training of Journalists, having spent four years on its board.