Local Voice Network Complaints Procedure
Local Voice Network (LVN) is an independent publisher which takes its reputation very seriously. We aspire to follow the Code of Conduct of the NUJ (National Union of Journalists), which holds journalists to a high standard of behaviour.
You may also find it helpful to read the Impress Standards Code, and the Editor’s Code drawn up by IPSO. Both these organisations are newspaper regulators. Please note that LVN is not a member of either Impress or IPSO, and these organisations cannot help you with your complaint. We mention them because reading their codes of conduct may help you understand the professional standards to which journalists normally work.
LVN licenses 18 Voice publications across Bristol, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, B&NES and Worcestershire. All aspire to the same editorial standards. We will deal with complaints as promptly as possible with a view to publishing any correction or apology in the next available issue. The Voice network receives very few complaints and it is our experience that almost all can be resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant through discussion with the Voice publisher or editor. If this cannot be done, we have independent experts who can help us to find a resolution.
Who can complain?
Complaints must be made by a named individual. Complainants must provide a full postal address, phone number and if possible, email address.
What can I complain about?
- You can complain about any article, in print or online, including words, images and audio/video content.
- You can also complain about the conduct of a journalist or employee of the Voice.
- Complaints must be made within four months of publication, or any act which is being complained of.
Making a complaint
If you have a complaint about an article in a printed edition of any Voice publication, or something on our website or social media:
- Put your complaint in writing to the Publisher of your local Voice (the addresses are here [weblink]. Be as precise as you can about what you think is wrong in the article, and what you would like done about it. For example, is there an error of fact, such as a name spelled wrong? State if you think the article has breached the NUJ Code of Conduct.
- The Publisher will respond acknowledging your complaint within five working days. He or she will consider your complaint carefully and attempt to be as objective as possible, seeking advice from other editors and publishers in the Voice network if he thinks this will assist the complaint process.
- The Editor will respond to your complaint in writing within 21 working days. If possible, the process will be timed to allow any correction or apology to be published in the next print edition.
- If you are still not satisfied with the response to your complaint, it will be referred to the Editor-in-Chief of Local Voice Network, Richard Coulter, or his co-director, Emma Cooper. They will attempt to find a solution which satisfies both the reader and the local editor.
- If you are still not satisfied with the response to your complaint, you can appeal to the Independent Resolution Panel, an independent panel of media experts who assist us in mediating and resolving complaints. All of the individuals have decades of experience in the media and are respected for their knowledge of media ethics and law. None of them has any interest, financial or editorial, in any Voice publication, beyond the payment they receive from the Voice for attempting to resolve your complaint.
- If a local Voice publisher has failed to resolve your complaint, write to Mike Jempson, director of media charity Mediawise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mike will consult the other members of the Voice Mediation Panel, Dr Sally Reardon and Markus Keppel-Palmer. At their discretion, they will consider your complaint and ask you for any further information they need. If you agree, and they think it appropriate, they will arrange a mediation meeting with the Voice publisher where you will have the opportunity to explain your complaint and what you would like to be done.
- If mediation cannot resolve the complaint, the Panel will consider what course of action should be taken, including whether a correction or apology should be published. The Voice publisher agrees to act on their recommendation including publishing a correction or apology with due prominence.
- If the complainant is still not satisfied and wishes to take the matter further or seek financial or other forms of compensation, it will be a matter for the courts.
- The members of the Independent Resolution Panel are:
Mike Jempson: an experienced journalist, former lecturer at the University of the West of England (UWE) and Visiting Professor of Media Ethics at Lincoln, and a longstanding member of the NUJ's Ethics Council. Dr Sally Reardon Senior lecturer in journalism at UWE, formerly journalist in international television news for Reuters Television (RTV), Sky News and Associated Press Television. Marcus Keppel-Palmer: Associate Head of Law at UWE, specialising in Media, Entertainment and Sports Law; Professional Conduct and Ethics of Solicitors.