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Review to be held into effectiveness of IPSO

IPSO_logo_newA retired civil servant is to carry out an external review into the “independence and effectiveness” of the new press watchdog.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has replaced the Press Complaints Commission as the industry regulator with most regional and national publishers signing up to its code of conduct.

But question marks have remained about its independence from the industry, with pressure group Hacked Off claiming it is effectively controlled by the big publishing groups.

Now the non-industry members of IPSO’s Appointments Panel have appointed Sir Joseph Pilling, a former Permanent Secretary at the NOrthern Ireland Office, to carry out a wide-ranging external review into the organisation.

Announcing the move, Appointments Panel chair Wendy Harris said: “This role was openly advertised and the Appointments Panel was looking for someone of unimpeachable independence, with a track record of conducting high profile reviews.

“We were very pleased that we were able to appoint someone as eminent and experienced as Sir Joseph.”

Sir Joseph added: “I welcome IPSO’s decision to set up an external review at what is an important time for the newspaper and magazine industry in the UK.

“I look forward to engaging with a wide range of industry stakeholders, as well as the general public, and would encourage anyone who has observations and views they wish to submit to contact us.”

The review will look at how IPSO is fulfilling its role as regulator of the UK newspaper and magazine industries and will examine the effectiveness of IPSO’s functions, and the extent to which it operates independently.

Its terms of reference will include the relationship between IPSO and the Regulatory Funding Company whose board comprises nine representatives of publishing groups.

The review will also look at the effectiveness of the complaints system, including the quality of the judgements reached.

And it will consider the impact on industry regulation of declining circulation and advertising revenues, industry consolidation and increased digitisation.