||9 May I received a reply from Ms Rebecca Hales, Complaints Officer.|
'PRESS COMPLAINTS COMMISSION'
Thank you for your recent correspondence.
A copy of the Editors' Code of Practice which the PCC independently enforces: http://www.pcc.org.uk/cop/practice.html Further information about the complaints process can be accessed using the following web link: http://www.pcc.org.uk/complaints/process.html
I will be dealing with your complaint against The Guardian before it goes to the Commission for a decision under the Code and I will keep you informed of the progress of our investigation into this matter. A copy of your correspondence has been sent to the newspaper and I will write to you again once I have received its response.
I would like to set out a number of points about our procedures, for your information.
Speed: The Commission has a commitment to deal with all complaints as quickly as possible. It expects both complainants and newspapers - and their representatives, legal or otherwise - to cooperate with that commitment. Any unreasonable delay on either side may be taken into account by the Commission.
Transparency: As part of a full and fair investigation we must ensure that each party to a complaint is able to see and comment upon what the other has to say. The Commission cannot take into account information to which both sides have not had an opportunity to comment.
Confidentiality: The system of self regulation overseen by the PCC requires good faith on both sides. In order for the PCC to be able to investigate complaints effectively, it is essential that neither party to a complaint, complainant or newspaper/magazine, publishes information which has been provided as part of the investigation - most notably correspondence - without the consent of the other party. Publication, without consent, may affect the PCC's ability to continue to deal with a complaint or may be considered by the PCC when it reaches a decision as to whether the Code has been breached. Material provided by both complainants and publications during a PCC investigation must only be used for the purpose of the complaint being considered by the PCC.
Commission rulings: It is possible that the Commission may find that your complaint does not amount to a breach of the Code, or that any remedial action taken or offered by the publication is sufficient under its terms. If this is the case we will explain to you why the Commission took this decision.
Correspondence with the editor: We will usually send a copy of each letter of complaint to the editor even if the complaint does not raise a breach of the Code. Similarly, any substantive decision made by the Commission under the terms of the Code will be sent to the editor.
Outside the Commission's remit: The Commission is not able to deal with all complaints. Some of the circumstances in which we may not be able to pursue a complaint are set out on our website.
Data Protection: By pursuing the complaint, you consent to the processing of any personal data which may be provided to the Commission for the purposes of dealing with your complaint. You also consent to the publication of the Commission's decision in relation to the complaint, but may withdraw consent in writing.
Independent Reviewer: If, at the end of the process, you are dissatisfied with the manner in which your complaint has been handled, you should write within one month to the Independent Reviewer who will investigate the matter and report any findings and recommendations to the Commission. Further details are included in the enclosed How to Complain booklet, or via the following link: http://www.pcc.org.uk/about/whoswho/independentreview.html
Do not hesitate to contact us if you need further advice. When you write to us, please quote our reference number on this letter.
Yours sincerelyRebecca Hales