The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

Yes. I think that is based on an inadequate understanding of exactly what I do. And I'm a member of the BIOA or an associate member of the BIOA myself. It hasn't been a matter of considerable urgency to me to take these criticisms on board, but I'm happy to respond to them.

I'm independent of the Council in the sense that my contract guarantees my independence. The Council has nothing to do, good, bad or indifferent, with any decision that I might take. I don't discuss my decisions with members of the Council, and they don't seek to enquire how I am working in relation to any particular complaint.

In fact, in recent years also the Council has agreed to amend its articles of association to give me greater independence. For example, one of the things that has to be operational before a complaint can be investigated is whether the complainant is personally affected. Under the original articles of association, if I made a decision that somebody wasn't personally affected, that decision was appealable to the Council. It is now regarded as an administrative decision which I may take and which is not appealable.

There are one or two other areas in which I have been given discretion, for example to rule out vexatious or frivolous complaints without the possibility of this being made subject to a decision by the Council. And I think in practice my independence of the Council is now pretty well-recognised.

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