ON SELF-REGULATION OF THE PRESS
ELIZABETH THE SECOND by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Our other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith:
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME, GREETING!
WHEREAS on 13th-July 2011 Our Prime Minister announced to Our Parliament the establishment of an Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press:
AND WHEREAS Our Baroness Browning, Minister of State at the Home Office and the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt, Our Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport appointed the Right Honourable Lord Justice Leveson as Chairman of this Inquiry, pursuant to section 3(1)(a) of the Inquiries Act 2005, by letter dated 28th-July 2011, to be assisted by a panel of senior independent persons with relevant expertise in media, broadcasting, regulation and government appointed as Assessors under section 11(2)(a) of that Act:
AND WHEREAS the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry included provision for the making of recommendations for a new more effective policy and regulatory regime which supports the integrity and freedom of the press, the plurality of the media, and its independence, including from Government, while encouraging the highest ethical and professional standards:
AND WHEREAS the Report of the Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press was presented to Parliament pursuant to section 26 of the Inquiries Act 2005 on 29th November 2012:
AND WHEREAS the Report of the Inquiry recommended that for an effective system of self-regulation to be established, all those parts of the press which are significant news publishers should become members of an independent regulatory body:
AND WHEREAS t
he independent regulatory body which is intended to be the successor to the Press Complaints Commission should put forward the Editors’ Code of Practice as its initial code of standards:
AND WHEREAS the Report of the Inquiry recommended that there should be a mechanism to recognise and certify an independent regulatory body or bodies for the press, and that the responsibility for such recognition and certification should rest with a recognition body:
AND WHEREAS the Report of the Inquiry recommended that such a recognition body should not be involved in the regulation of the press:
AND WHEREAS it is in the interests of Our People that there should be a body corporate established for the purpose of determining recognition of an independent regulatory body or bodies, in pursuance of the recommendations of the Report of the Inquiry.
NOW KNOW YE that We by Our Prerogative Royal of Our especial grace, certain
knowledge and mere motion do by this Our Charter for Us, Our Heirs and Successors will, ordain and declare as follows:
There shall be a body corporate known as the Recognition Panel.
There shall be a Board of the Recognition Panel which shall be responsible for the conduct and management of the Recognition Panel’s business and affairs, in
accordance with the further terms of this Charter.
The members of the Board of the Recognition Panel shall be the only Members of the body corporate, but membership of the body corporate shall not enable any individual to act otherwise than through the Board to which he belongs.
TERM OF CHARTER
This Charter shall take effect from [date subsequent to the date of sealing].
This Charter shall continue in force unless and until it is dissolved, in accordance with Article 10, by Us, Our Heirs or Successors in Council, or otherwise.
The Purpose for which the Recognition Panel is established and incorporated is to carry on activities relating to the recognition of Regulators in accordance with the terms of this Charter.
Provisions and definitions to assist in the interpretation of this Charter are contained in Schedule 4
The Recognition Panel has the general functions, in accordance with the terms of this Charter, of:
determining applications for recognition from Regulators;
reviewing whether a Regulator which has been granted recognition shall continue to be recognised;
withdrawing recognition from a Regulator where the Recognition Panel is satisfied that the Regulator ceases to be entitled to recognition; and
reporting on any success or failure of the recognition system.
In performing the general functions in Article 4.1 the Board shall apply the Scheme of Recognition set out in Schedule 2
(Scheme of Recognition).
The Board shall manage the assets of the Recognition Panel efficiently and effectively so as to best achieve the Recognition Panel’s Purpose.
The functions of the Recognition Panel shall be public functions.
APPOINTMENTS AND MEMBERSHIP
The Board of the Recognition Panel shall consist of a Chair and no fewer than 4 and no more than 8 other Members.
Appointments to the Board of the Recognition Panel, and the terms of such
appointments, shall be regulated by Schedule 1 (Appointments and Terms of
Subject to the terms of this Article, the Board shall determine and regulate its own procedures for conducting its business and discharging its functions under this Charter.
The Board shall not delegate the following decisions:
A decision to recognise or withdraw recognition from a Regulator in accordance with the Scheme of Recognition;
A decision to undertake an ad hoc review in accordance with the Scheme of Recognition.
The Board shall put in place arrangements by which a Member can:
register his interests or any other matter he considers relevant to the Purpose of the Recognition Panel;
determine whether any interest he holds, directly or indirectly, gives rise to a conflict of interest;
declare such conflicts to the Board; and
absent himself from decision-making where the Board determines it is appropriate so to do.
The Board shall publish its procedures.
The Recognition Panel may employ staff or otherwise engage people whose services are deemed expedient in order to carry out or promote the Purpose of the Recognition Panel, and, in particular, to organise, assist with the work of, and advise the Board.
The Board may authorise the payment of remuneration to members of staff or pay or make payments towards the provision of pensions, allowances or gratuities, at such rates or amounts as it determines.
None of the following may be a member of staff employed by the Recognition Panel or be otherwise engaged by the Recognition Panel in a similar capacity (whether on a full-time or part-time basis):
a relevant publisher or someone otherwise involved in the publication of news or current affairs in the United Kingdom;
a person who is part of the governing body of a relevant publisher;
the chair or member of the Board of a Regulator;
a member of staff working for a Regulator or relevant publisher;
a civil servant;
a serving or former member of the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the
Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly or the National Assembly for Wales.
The Recognition Panel, acting through the Board, may do all things that are lawful as may further the Purpose of the Recognition Panel, and in particular, but without limitation may:
borrow or raise and secure the payment of money for the purpose of performing the Panel’s general functions;
enter into enforceable arrangements requiring the non-refundable payment of fees by Regulators seeking recognition;
procure professional legal or other advisory services; and
procure professional financial advice, including for the purpose of achieving best value for money.
A provision of this Charter may be added to, supplemented, varied or omitted (inwhole or in part) if, and only if the requirements of Article 9.2 are met.
Before any proposal (made by any person) to add to, supplement, vary or omit (inwhole or in part) a provision of this Charter (“proposed change”) can take effect a draft of the proposed change must have been laid before Parliament, and approved by a resolution of each House. For this purpose “approved” means that at last two-thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.
The Recognition Panel may only propose a change to the terms of this Charter if a resolution has been passed unanimously by all of the Members of the Board, who shall determine the matter at a meeting duly convened for that purpose.
The provisions of Article 9.2 do not apply to a proposed change to the Charter that is required merely to correct a clerical or typographical error.
Provided the terms of Article 9.2 have been met, any such addition, supplement, variation or omission shall, when approved by Us, Our Heirs or Successors in Council, become effective so that this Charter shall thenceforth continue and operate as though it had been originally granted and made accordingly.
This Charter, and the Recognition Panel created by it, shall not be dissolved unless information about the proposed dissolution has been presented to Parliament, and that proposal has been approved by a resolution of each House.
For this purpose “approved” means that at least two-thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.
The Recognition Panel may, if it appears necessary to the Board (acting
unanimously) to do so:
surrender this Charter (and, provided the terms of Article 10.1 have been
complied with, thereafter dissolve the Recognition Panel) with the permission of Us, Our Heirs or Successors in Council and upon such terms as We or They consider fit, and
wind up or otherwise deal with the affairs of the Recognition Panel in such
manner as they consider fit, provided that all remaining funds (which remain
once the debts of the Recognition Panel have been paid in full) together with the proceeds from the sale of any assets belonging to the Recognition Panel shall be paid to the Consolidated Fund.
The dissolution of the Recognition Panel is subject to any applicable statutory
provisions or other legal requirement (relating to the cessation of the body’s operation, including as an employer or contractor).
The Exchequer shall grant to the Recognition Panel such sums of money as are sufficient to enable the Board to commence its operations and thereafter fulfil its Purpose for the first three years after the date upon which this Charter becomes effective.
The grant of such monies shall be on such terms as Managing Public Money requires.
The Board shall prepare annual budgets for each financial year, and in doing so shall have regard to the need to ensure it achieves value for money.
For the first three years after the date upon which this Charter becomes effective, the Board shall provide the Lord Chancellor, upon request, with such budgets, once prepared, and with such other information as she requires, in order to estimate the on going costs of the Recognition Panel from time to time.
The Board shall prepare, consult publicly upon, and publish a scheme for charging fees to Regulators in relation to the functions of recognition and review, to come into force from the third anniversary of the date upon which this Charter becomes effective.
Any fee charged shall comply with Article 11.4.
The aim of the scheme shall be for the Recognition Panel to recover its full costs in determining applications for recognition and for conducting cyclical reviews, as appropriate.
The Board may determine to set different fees for different circumstances.A fee may not exceed the following amounts:
in the case of a fee relating to an application for recognition £x;
in the case of a fee relating to a cyclical review £y; and
in each case the amount specified shall be revised, annually,according to the indexation formula specified at Article 11.5.
The following indexation formula is to be used by the Recognition Panel to vary all financial amounts specified in this Charter, including those in the Schedules to this Charter. Where no period for variation is specified, the amount shall be varied on each annual anniversary of the date this Charter becomes effective
[formula using the Consumer Prices Index]
The Board shall design the scheme so that fees become due and payable irrespective of the success of an application or the outcome of a cyclical review,and for their consequent enforceability as a matter of private contract law.
In the event that the Board considers that its income (from whatever source received) is likely to be insufficient to meet its expenditure relating to
legal or other expenses arising from litigation or threatened litigation,
ad hoc reviews
wholly unforeseen events, it shall have the right to request further reasonable sums from the Exchequer. In response to such a request, the Exchequer shall grant such sums to the Recognition Panel as it considers necessary to ensure that the Purpose of the Recognition Panel is not frustrated by a lack of funding.
References to the Exchequer in this Article mean the Exchequer acting through the Lord Chancellor, and with the consent of the Lords Commissioners of Our Treasury.
Each Member shall exercise fiduciary duties in relation to the use and management of all monies received by the Recognition Panel. The Chair shall appoint one Member to take specific responsibility for reporting to the Board on the management of the finances of the Recognition Panel.
The Board must keep proper accounts and proper records in relation to the accounts.
The Board must prepare a statement of accounts for each financial year, and must end a copy of the statement to the Comptroller and Auditor General as soon as practicable after the end of the financial year.
In accordance with any necessary arrangements made between the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Recognition Panel, the Comptroller and Auditor General will examine, certify and report on the statement each year.
The Recognition Panel shall make arrangements for a copy of the certified statement and the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report to be laid before Parliament.
In this Article, and Article 13:
“financial year” means:
the period beginning with the date this Charter becomes effective under Article 2 (term of charter) and ending with the following 31 March; and
each successive period of twelve months ending with 31 March;
where the administrative assistance of a Minister of the Crown is required for the Recognition Panel to lay a document before Parliament, the Lord Chancellor shall provide such assistance.
As soon as practicable after the end of each financial year the Board must prepare and publish a report about the activities of the Recognition Panel during that year including whether it has granted recognition to, or withdrawn it from a Regulator.
The Board shall make arrangements for the Report to be laid before Parliament.
The Recognition Panel shall have perpetual succession, and shall continue to exist as a legal person, regardless of the changes in its composition which occur when particular individuals cease to be Members and are succeeded by other individuals.
The Recognition Panel shall have a Common Seal. The Recognition Panel may alter its Common Seal or replace it with a new one.
The Recognition Panel shall have the capacity and powers of a natural person, and in particular has the capacity to sue and be sued.
Each and every Member of the Board and of the Appointments Committee shall be indemnified from the assets of the Recognition Panel against any liability incurred by him by reason of any act or thing done by him in the proper discharge of his responsibilities, office or duty under this Charter.
IN WITNESS whereof…….
To view the Gov. version of this document CLICK HERE.
For clarification of the terms of the Royal Charter as they pertain to individuals web sites and blogs – my thanks to Dr. Richard North for his concise and clear summary as follows:
Tuesday 19 March 2013
There has been a certain amount of concern as to whether bloggers might be caught by the proposed press regulations, and thus be exposed to crippling fines. However, in the debate last night in the Commons, the position was made clear by culture secretary Maria Miller.
A clause inserted into the coming Bill makes the law apply only to a “relevant publisher”. Such a publisher would have to be publishing news-related material in the course of a business, the material would have to be written by a range of authors and it would have to be subject to editorial control.
These tests, says Miller, “would exclude a one-man band or a single blogger”. The clause added is “specifically designed to protect small-scale bloggers”, she said. Lone bloggers clearly do not meet the criteria necessary to include them in the regulatory maw.
However, online news sites such as Huffington Post, may well be caught in the net. Thus, if anything, this new law will have the effect of levelling the playing field between the clogs and the independent bloggers.
Richard North 19/03/2013
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