IPSO now has the power "in appropriate circumstances" to investigate a breach of its standards in the absence of a specific complaint and is also now in charge of writing its own complaints procedures, according to an announcement on its website yesterday.
The regulator also has a new sanction for serious infractions of its rules and can now demand quarterly statements from publications giving details of any breaches of its code of practice.
Other changes at the regulator include simplification of the rules for launching a standards investigation and setting a four-year budget to take it through to 2020.
IPSO was founded in September 2014 following the winding up of the Press Complaints Commission in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
Francis Ingham, director general of the PRCA, said: "We welcome the news that IPSO members have voted for enhanced powers and greater independence. As we have always said, the PR industry needs a healthy, free press – one that can hold us to account in order for our communications to be trusted by the general public.
"Press regulation is a delicate balancing act – it needs to be tough but not chilling in its effect on journalism. The Independent Press Standards Organisation has so far walked this tightrope well."