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Public thumbs-up for under-threat press watchdog

A new survey has found a high level of public satisfaction with the Press Complaints Commission despite the controversy over its role in the phone-hacking affair.

Premier David Cameron has dubbed the watchdog “ineffective” and promised a new regulatory regime for the press while its chairman, Baroness Buscombe, has resigned.

But according to a survey published yesterday, three-quarters of people who have complained to the Commission felt their issues were dealt with very well, well or satisfactorily.

And the commission’s staff were also rated highly, with 92pc if the respondents who expressed a view saying that they were either very helpful, helpful or satisfactory.

The survey, covering the period from January to June this year, showed that 78pc of those who complained to the PCC were aged between 30 and 70.

The vast majority – 89pc – were from England, with 7pc in Wales, 2pc in Scotland, and 1% each from Ireland and the rest of the world.

Most of the complaints – 67pc – said they knew of the PCC’s existence before making their complaint, while 17pc found out about it through the internet, 7pc did so from newspapers and magazines, and 9pc did so from other sources.

The survey said 79pc of those who expressed an opinion about the PCC’s website rated it as either four or five out of five for helpfulness of information, while 90pc rated the website as three or more out of five for ease of use and navigation.

PCC director Stephen Abell said: “I hope that these figures show the quality of work currently undertaken by PCC staff in dealing with complaints.

“This is what the PCC was set up to do, and it this work that needs to be built upon, as the process of reform of the system is considered. The PCC is committed to driving that reform in terms of its practical independence and remit.”

The PCC has surveyed those who use its services since 2002.

Earlier this year, following a recommendation by its independent Governance Review, the PCC made a commitment to update its survey form, and regularly publish results.


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  • August 5, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Jeez … well done PCC for undertaking your own survey. Hardly likely to contact people whose complaints weren’t upheld are you? So this survey means Jack. Nice try, goodbye, don’t waste my time.

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  • August 5, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Carrying out a survey on the effectiveness of your own business will always be subject to scepticism. Yet, ultimately, it’s only a marketing tool similar to those used by producers of baked beans, facial treatments and newspapers. As for the PCC, itself, I always found them fair and painstaking during my years as a senior editorial figure. Filtering out the spurious complaints from the oddballs who use the PCC as a first resort stick with which to beat a newspaper must be both tedious and time-consuming. If the PCC is replaced as a result of current pressures, I hope the new body will embrace the spirit of the old.

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