Here are some common questions people ask about The Ferret.

Where can I find Ferret source documents and data?

The Ferret has made available its entire archive of source documents for public search.

Anyone can search for people, organisations, places, or indeed any keyword, across thousands of pages of documents we’ve unearthed, largely from publicly funded bodies.

Where the document has formed the basis of a story that has been published, it will open with a link to the original story.

We’ve also added documents that have not been directly included in a story, that people may find useful.

Most of the documents have been obtained using Freedom of Information legislation and therefore haven’t been published anywhere else.

As the archive grows, it will only become more useful. To this end we welcome contributions from other journalists, campaigners and Ferret members.

If you’d like to submit a document, or a dataset, to the archive, then you should get in touch.

You can search the archive here: https://theferret.scot/archive

If I’m a paying Ferret member, should I join The Ferret Underground?

The short answer is no!

The Ferret Underground is the new name for our free membership level.

Ferret Underground members do not get unlimited access to The Ferret archives, nor do they become full members of The Ferret.

Therefore if you are a paying member you get everything that Ferret Underground members get – plus a lot extra!

Both free and paying members are welcome to sign-up for our SMS alerts and to join our Ferret Underground Facebook group.

How do I update my card details?

If your card expires, your membership may be automatically cancelled.

We will try to email you beforehand to alert you about this.

Here’s how to update your card details.

Step 1

Login to The Ferret

Step 2

Go to the Membership Billing page and update your card details. That’s it!

Alternative payment methods

If you want to switch to paying by Direct Debit, then please get in touch to let us know, as we’ll need to set a few things up manually.

I’m having trouble accessing my account

If you’re having trouble accessing your account, you should try resetting your password.

You can do that here: https://theferret.scot/wp-login.php?action=lostpassword

In circumstances your email provider my treat the password reset email as spam, or block it, so if you do not receive an email please remember to check your spam or “trash” email folders.

If, for any reason, you still have trouble logging in please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do our best to help as quickly as possible.

I keep hitting the paywall even though I’ve logged in

Occasionally our subscribers find that they keep being redirected to our paywall, even after they’ve signed in.

We appreciate that this can be frustrating, and we’re working on a fix.

In the meantime we find that clearing your browser cache fixes this problem in 99% of cases.

If you’re not sure how to do that, this might help.

If you’re still stuck after clearing your browser, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.

Can I follow The Ferret on social media?

You can find The Ferret’s social media accounts here:

Give us a follow!

Where does The Ferret get its funding from?

The Ferret is a product of the years of support from our paying members. If you’re one of them – thanks!

We also supplement this income with money from grant giving bodies, event fees, and selling stories to other media organisations.

We have launched stories in partnership with a range of other media organisations including The Sunday Herald, The Guardian, The Daily Record, The Times and The National.

Our site carries no advertising, and we do not accept funding from any organisation that seeks to influence our editorial.

The Ferret is grateful to the following organisations for providing funding or in-kind support to The Ferret, since we launched:

We do consult with our members from time to time on the editorial priorities we should pursue.

We share financial information with our subscribers in regular transparency reports, and as a registered co-operative, The Ferret is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


The Ferret produces a variety of audio reports. You can find out more about them, and how to subscribe here: https://theferret.scot/audio-and-podcasts/

How do I manage the notifications I get from The Ferret?

There are a number of ways you get notifications about new stories from The Ferret.

You can opt-in and opt-out of all services directly. However, should you be feeling deluged with notifications here’s some help on how you can manage them better.

Browser Notifications

When you first visit our main site you may be prompted to opt-in to our free browser notifications. If these subsequently become annoying here’s some links that show how you can turn them off.

Email alerts

The Ferret sends out a number of email alerts to our subscribers. When you sign-up as a paying member we automatically add you to our weekly digest email and our daily email alerts for new stories.

Ferret Underground members receive our weekly email only.

There are links in the footer of all the emails we send out which allow you to opt-out of these emails at any time.

You can manage your communication preferences from the account page on our website. To find it, you should:

If you decide to opt-out of receiving emails from us, but are a paying member, we may still need to send you service emails relating to the management of the co-operative or your online account from time to time. We do our best to keep these to a minimum.

SMS messages

If you’ve supplied us with your mobile phone number then you may receive some messages from us via sms message. You can stop these messages at any time by replying with UNSUBSCRIBE.

Need help?

The last thing we want is to spam you with annoying notifications. So if you are feeling spammed by The Ferret and the advice in this post hasn’t helped, then please do let us know by using our contact form and we’ll do our best to help you.

How do I pitch a story idea to The Ferret?

Even if you’re not a professional journalist we’re always interested in hearing pitches, leads and ideas for new stories.

More details are available here: https://theferret.scot/pitch-us-story/

What is the Ferret’s editorial policy?

The Ferret was the first publication in Scotland to be independently regulated by Impress.

This means everything we publish should comply with the Impress Standard’s code.

Additionally, The Ferret Fact Service is the first, and only, fact checking project in Scotland that has been independently assessed as compliant with the International Fact Checking Network’s Fact Checker’s code of principles.

The Ferret is politically impartial and remains neutral on the question of Scottish independence.

Wherever possible we aim to publish or link to our source materials, data and documents.

None of our Directors are members of any political party and The Ferret has never received funding from any political party.

All of our Directors are required to keep a register of outside interests up to date.

The members of The Ferret Editorial Committee are collectively responsible for all editorial decisions.

How is The Ferret managed?

The Ferret is a multi-stakeholder cooperative registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.

There are two classes of member and three types of Director that make up the board. This sounds complicated, but it is designed to help The Ferret balance the interests of readers and writers on our board, whilst also making sure we can access the skills we need to develop and grow.

Reader Members

Every new paying subscriber to The Ferret becomes a Reader Member of The Ferret unless they specifically opt-out of membership. The Reader Members elect the Reader Directors to the board.

Journalist Members

Journalist Members are relatively few in number and many are the founding members of the co-op. People are eligible to apply to become a Journalist Member when they have published at least three stories on The Ferret. Applications must be approved by the board. The Journalist Members elect the Journalist Directors to the board each year.

Journalist Directors

Journalist Directors are elected by the Journalist Members each year. Whilst all Journalist Directors take part in wider board decisions, and they may participate in other committees, they also comprise the core of the Editorial Committee. The Editorial Committee is collectively responsible for all editorial decisions.

Journalist Directors may not be on the Complaints Committee.

Reader Directors

Reader Directors are elected to the board each year by the Reader Members. hilst all Reader Directors take part in wider board decisions, and they may participate in other committees, Reader Directors comprise the core of the Complaints Committee. They will assess any formal complaints as part of our complaints policy.

Reader Directors are restricted from membership of the Editorial Committee.

Independent Directors

Independent Directors are appointed by the other Directors each year. This allows us to ensure that a broader range of experience and skills are represented on the board.

Current Board Members

You can find out more about the current board members on our website: https://theferret.scot/about-us/

Governing Document

You can download the governing document for The Ferret here: https://theferret.scot/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Rules.pdf

Independent Regulation

The Ferret is co-operative and therefore regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The Ferret is also independently regulated by press regulator, Impress.

How do I make a complaint?

The Ferret has a detailed complaints policy that sets out how to make a complaint about any aspect of our work.

Complaints about the content of our published material are dealt with differently from complaints about other aspects the organisation.

You can find our complaints policy here: https://theferret.scot/complaints/

Why aren’t I receiving any email from you?

There are two main reasons that you might not be receiving any email from us.

Firstly, your email provider may have blacklisted our email address. This is currently a particular problem if you have a BTinternet email address. You may be able to fix this by whitelisting our contact@theferret.scot email address in your email account. If this still doesn’t work you could try contacting your email provider to ask them to whitelist this address too.

Secondly, you may have clicked the unsubscribe link in an earlier email that we have sent you, or indicated to us that you wished not to receive emails when we asked you about your contact preferences.

If you are sure you’d like to receive emails from us, please get in touch and we’ll check our records.

Why am I reading Ferret stories in another publication?

We regularly partner with other publishers. We do this for a number of reasons. We may do this to increase the impact of our work, bring additional resources to our investigations and, sometimes, we generate additional funds to support our reporting.

We never partner with another organisation if we believe it will compromise our editorial independence.

A non-exhaustive list of publishers we’ve collaborated with includes:

  • BBC
  • The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
  • The Daily Record
  • The Guardian
  • The Irish Times
  • The i
  • The National
  • The Sunday Post
  • The Sunday Herald
  • The Times
  • The Sunday Times

If you are interested in collaborating with us please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How do I make a one-off donation?

If you just want to donate to The Ferret without becoming a member, you can do that using Paypal.

As we’re a co-operative, we would however encourage you to join The Ferret, as we’re a membership organisation.

If you’d like to make a donation larger than £150 (thanks!) please get in touch to ask for our bank details. This will help to minimise the amount lost due to processing fees.