Complaints

Complaints policy and proceedure of The Ferret

This policy sets out how the Ferret will respond to complaints.

If your complaint is about our published content, it is an editorial complaint. Editorial complaints relate to any material published and controlled by The Ferret.

If your complaint falls outwith the Editorial Complaints process, please refer to the Non-Editorial Complaints section at the end of this complaints page.

Editorial Complaints: Our Policy

The Ferret aims to correct substantial errors as soon as possible. Corrections appear on the relevant web page and significant corrections are collated in our droppings blog.

The Ferret also report on the complaints it receives to its Independent Regulator IMPRESS.

The Ferret reserves the right to amend this policy as required. The Ferret will publish the correct policy on its website. Complaints will be considered against the published policy on the date of receipt of the complaint.

Complaints are made to The Ferret’s reader director responsible for legal and standards compliance and a member of The Ferret’s complaints panel. The reader director or another member of the complaints panel will look into complaints about articles and online content that The Ferret controls, assessing complaints and queries against the IMPRESS Standards Code.

Before submitting a complaint, you should take steps to understand whether the complaints panel are able to look at your complaint by reading through the Standards Code.

We can only deal with your complaint if you are:
• Personally and directly affected by an alleged breach of the Code
• A representative group affected by an alleged breach of the Code, where there is public interest in your complaint
• A third party seeking to ensure accuracy of published information

How do I complain?

Please read the Standards Code first to understand whether the complaints panel can look into your complaint.

Stage One: Making a Complaint

1. Information on how to make a complaint is clearly publicised in the Complaints Procedure section of the main website of The Ferret at https://theferret.scot (this page.)

2. Complaints may be sent in writing to The Ferret at Tribe Porty, 19 Windsor Place, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 2AJ, by email to contact@theferret.scot or other reasonable means where this is more convenient and practical for the complainant.  A complaints enquiry form is also available below.

3. Complainants should provide the following information before their complaint will be considered:

• The complainant’s name, address, e-mail address and telephone number

• If the complaint is about a news article it must include:

– the name and date of the publication and page reference of the specific article being complained about plus the URL.
– URL/Link to any visual or audio element of the complaint.
– a written account of what is being complained about with clear reference made to
– (i) any specific words or phrases in the article that are relevant to the complaint; and (ii) any clauses of the Standards Code adopted by IMPRESS (“Code”) that the complainant believes to have been breached
– The desired outcome or remedy sought by the complainant

• If the complaint is about the conduct or behaviour of an employee or contributor to The Ferret it must include:

– the name(s) of the individual(s) being complained about (if known) or any other information which may identify the individual (s)
– a written account of what is being complained about with clear reference made to
(i) the nature of the behaviour or conduct being complained about including any relevant times, dates, correspondence or other evidence to support the complaint; and
(ii) any clauses of the Code that the complainant believes to have been breached
– The desired outcome or remedy sought by the complainant

4. The Ferret will make reasonable efforts to contact a complainant by telephone, e-mail or in writing to ensure that sufficient information is provided to respond to the complaint.

Stage Two – Recording, Investigating and Resolving the Complaint

5. The complaint information should be passed to the person responsible for legal standards and compliance (“The Complaints Editor”) at The Ferret. They will record it in the complaints log and will acknowledge receipt of the complaint by e-mail or in writing within 7 calendar days of receipt of the complaint.

6. The acknowledgement of receipt of a complaint should say who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply. Any conflicts of interest should also be declared at this point. A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached.

7. The Complaints Editor is responsible for ensuring that the circumstances of the complaint are investigated fairly and that any conflicts of interest are managed. This may require the complainant to provide additional information, documents or other evidence to support their complaint. In the event of a potential conflict of interest, the complaint may be referred to another member of The Ferret’s complaints panel for further investigation to ensure there is no conflict.

8. Complainants should receive a final decision letter within 21 calendar days from the date of the receipt of the complaint.

9. The final decision letter must inform complainants that they have the right to refer their complaint to IMPRESS, stating the applicable time limits, set out in clause 4.4 of the IMPRESS Regulatory Scheme, and how to contact IMPRESS.

10. Whether the complaint is justified or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

11. If, following investigation, it is deemed there has been a breach of the Standards Code, The Ferret’s investigating officer will suggest an appropriate remedy. Corrections and clarifications will appear on the relevant news story and may also be published elsewhere on the internet.

12. The Ferret will always aim to handle complaints fairly, courteously and with respect and expects the same behaviour from complainants. The Ferret reserves the right to decline to consider complaints that are abusive or gratuitously offensive.

13. If at any stage of a complaint The Ferret does not hear back from the complainer within 21 calendar days, it will consider the complaint satisfied and closed.

14. The Ferret will record details of how all complaints were handled.

15. The Ferret’s regulator IMPRESS requires publishers to maintain “a written record of all complaints, to include the name and contact details of the complainant; the material or conduct in respect of which the complaint is made; and the alleged Code breach. This written record must include any steps taken by the publisher to address the complaint, and the outcome of the complaint. This record must be made available to IMPRESS and to the public (in a redacted form, where necessary).”

Stage Three – Escalating the Complaint to IMPRESS

16. If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved by The Ferret at Stage Two or if the complainant feels that the complaint is so urgent that they cannot wait for The Ferret to respond, they can request that the complaint is reviewed by IMPRESS in accordance with its Regulatory Scheme, by contacting IMPRESS at the following address.

IMPRESS: The Independent Monitor for the Press CIC
83 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0HW
T. (+44) (0)20 3585 4160
E. complaints@impress.press
www.impress.press

Editorial complaints form

You can use this form to send us an editorial complaint.

Full Name (required)

Organisation

Address

Your Email (required)

Telephone

How would you describe yourself?

How would you like us to contact you?
TelephoneEmailLetterThrough agent only

Is there anything we should bear in mind when contacting you?

If the complaint is about content published by The Ferret, please tell us about it below.

What is the headline of the article you wish to complain about?

What is the url of the article?

What date was it published?

Summary of complaint (in 50 words or less)

Please tell us which specific words or phrases you believe to be in breach of the Standards Code

If the complaint is about the conduct or behaviour of an employee or contributor to The Ferret please tell us as much detail as you can.

Please tell us the name of the person, if known, and provide us with details of any dates, times, and locations which are relevant.

Please tell us which clause(s) of the Standards Code you believe may have been breached.
Use the Ctrl button to select multiple options.

What would you like us to do in response to this complaint?
Use the Ctrl button to select multiple options.

If you answer "other" to the previous question, please explain further.

Non-Editorial Complaints

Non-editorial complaints are complaints that do not relate directly to material published by The Ferret. They are not subject to independent regulation, unlike editorial complaints.

Once The Ferret receives a non-editorial complaint, it will be assigned to a board member of The Ferret to manage. An initial response should be issued within seven days.

The Ferret aims to give a substantive response to non-editorial complaints within 21 calendar days of receiving all the necessary information to allow investigation to take place. However, this may take longer in more complex cases where more information is required, or where the people involved are away or unreachable.

The Ferret will always aim to handle complaints fairly, courteously and with respect and expects the same behaviour from complaints. The Ferret may decline to consider complaints that are abusive or gratuitously offensive.

If at any stage of a complaint The Ferret does not hear back from a complainant within 21 calendar days, it will consider the complaint satisfied and closed. The Ferret will keep a record of how the complaint was handled. If the complaint relates to membership of The Ferret, complaints will be handled in accordance with The Ferret’s governing document.

If a complainant is unhappy about the initial response received, the decision can be appealed. The appeal and the initial response will be considered at the next board meeting of The Ferret.

The complainant will be notified in writing of the outcome of the appeal within seven days of the board meeting.

Those wishing to make a non-editorial complaint can contact The Ferret here: https://theferret.scot/contact