Progress Publishing, the company behind the Bedford Independent, takes accurate, impartial, and relevant public-interest news reporting very seriously. Our editorial team are NCTJ trained and follows a standards code set out by the independent press regulator Impress Standards.
You can read the IMPRESS Regulatory Scheme and Standards Code here.
If you have any concerns about any of the stories we have reported upon, then we are committed to listening to your concerns and investigating fully, and responding appropriately.
If you are not satisfied with our response, then you can contact Impress Standards who will act as an independent adjudicator. You can read our complaints policy here which details how you can raise an issue with us.
Please note, the following policy is for content that has originated from Bedford Independent staff. Any complaints relating to content from the Local Democracy Reporting Service may also be passed to them for a response if required.
You can find out more about this here.
We (Progress Publishing) view complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve the quality of our journalism and the content of our publication(s), as well as a chance to put things right for the person (or organisation) that has made the complaint.
Our policy is:
- To provide a fair complaints procedure that is clear, convenient and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint (in particular those that are vulnerable or who have disabilities)
- To uphold and adhere to the Standards Code (“Code”) set out in the IMPRESS Regulatory Scheme in our assessment of all complaints
- To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that readers know how to contact us to make a complaint
- To make sure everyone working for us knows what to do if a complaint is received
- To make sure all complaints are dealt with promptly and fairly, with decisions based on sufficient investigation of the circumstances and (where appropriate) offer a suitable remedy
- To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that trust in our journalism and our publication(s) remains strong
- To gather information about all the complaints we receive to help continually improve the quality of our journalism and our publication(s)
- To submit an annual report to IMPRESS of all complaints received and their outcomes
- To submit any complaint that is not resolved by us in a timely or satisfactory way to IMPRESS and to comply with directions issued by IMPRESS relating to its Regulatory Scheme
- To make available to all our employees a confidential whistleblowing hotline which is independently operated by IMPRESS and not to take any action to the detriment of anyone who uses the hotline or declines to breach the Code.
Making a complaint
We can look into complaints about items we have published which are in our control. We adhere to the Standards Code adopted by Impress and can only deal with complaints which relate to an alleged breach of the standards set out in this 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
While we are regulated by Impress, initial complaints must be made to us, [Progress Publishing], via news@BedfordIndependent.co.uk
We will acknowledge your complaint by e-mail or in writing within seven calendar days and will normally respond to your complaint with a final decision letter within 21 calendar days.
- 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 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
If we uphold your complaint, we will tell you the remedial actions we have taken.
If you are not satisfied with the final response to your complaint, or if you do not hear from us within 21 calendar days of submitting your complaint, then you can refer your complaint to our independent regulator Impress at this link or by contacting them directly using the following information:
Whistleblowing rights of employees and contributors
Employees or contributors are encouraged to contact the IMPRESS confidential whistleblowing hotline (“the Hotline”) if they are being pressurised to breach the standards set out in the Code or if they have concerns that the standards set out in the Code are not being adhered to more generally by Us.
We will publicise the contact details of the Hotline to all our employees and contributors.
Any employee or contributor of who uses the Hotline does so with Our full support and in the knowledge that they will not be sanctioned as a result of doing so.
We guarantee to protect all whistle-blowers from possible reprisals, victimisation or sanction if a disclosure has been made in good faith even if a subsequent independent investigation carried out by IMPRESS into our journalism finds there to be no breach of the Code or of the IMPRESS Regulatory Scheme.
For the avoidance of doubt, We will not take any action to the detriment of anyone who uses the IMPRESS whistleblowing hotline or declines to breach the Standards Code adopted by Us as part of our compliance with the IMPRESS Regulatory Scheme.
All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.
In respect of each title we publish, we will maintain a written record of all complaints, including 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.
For each complaint record, We will include any steps taken by Us to address the complaint, and the outcome of the complaint. This record will be made available to Impress and to the public (in a redacted form, where necessary), for publication by Impress in its annual report.
We will report to IMPRESS all compliance failures of which We become aware (whether complained about or not)
Monitoring and learning from complaints are reviewed quarterly by Us to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.
Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with our board of directors.
Responsibility for ensuring that complaints are managed in accordance with this policy lies with a nominated senior legal and compliance standards individual for each title.
Each title shall include a statement of arrangements which includes details of the internal authority structure, where responsibilities for Code compliance lie, to whom notice of failure in compliance would be reported (whether complained about or not), together with steps to deal with any failures in compliance.
This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required.
Adopted on: 05 November 2018 Last reviewed: 21 August 2023