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New body to keep an eye on press watchdog

A new panel has been created to place the work of the Press Complaints Commission under the microscope.

The members of the panel will scrutinise PCC work, including the way it handles complaints.

It is the first step in the “permanent evolution” of the commission announced by chairman Sir Christopher Meyer last year.

Sir Christopher said: “The creation of the Charter Compliance Panel will add another layer of accountability to our work and reassure complainants that what we do is carried out under a high degree of scrutiny.”

The Charter Compliance Panel will have the power to review any aspect of the Commission’s handling of complaints and make recommendations for improvements – in a published report – to the Commission.

The members of the panel are former Home Office permanent secretary and former PCC member Sir Brian Cubbon, Dame Ruth Runciman, former chairman of the Mental Health Act Commission, and Charles Wilson, former editor of The Times.

Sir Brian has agreed to become the first independent Charter Commissioner, which means any complainant who is dissatisfied with the manner in which their complaint was handled can write to him, asking for an investigation.

Sir Christopher added: “Our customer feedback forms tell us that there is a high degree of satisfaction about the manner in which we deal with complaints. But we are not so complacent as to believe that things can never go wrong.”

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