TRUST POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR THE USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES (INCLUDING ACCESS VIA MOBILE DEVICES) Status: Final. Version Date Author Reason

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1 TRUST POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR THE USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES (INCLUDING ACCESS VIA MOBILE DEVICES) Reference Number HR Version: 1 Status: Final Author: Jane Thomas Job Title HR Manager Amendment History Version Date Author Reason 1 Aug 2012 HR Manager New policy Intended Recipients: All employees including medical staff, temporary, fixed term, agency, volunteers and students. To be read in conjunction with: Trust Policy and Procedures for Disciplinary of employees; Conduct, Capability and Health Policy for Medical Staff; Raising a Concern (Whistleblowing) Policy; Dignity at Work (Handling bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace) Policy; Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy; Grievance and Disputes policy; Internet Access and Policy; Information Governance Policy; In consultation with and date: Partnership Forum and Operational Managers (Oct 2011); Workforce Standards Group (Sep 2012); Local Negotiating Committee (Sep 2012); Workforce Committee (Oct 2012); Trust Joint Council (Nov 2012); EIRA stage one completed: n/a Stage two completed: Yes Procedural Documentation Review Group Assurance and Date November 2012 Approving Body and Date Approved ME November 2012 Date of Issue November 2012 Review Date November

2 Contact for Review Executive Lead Signature Approving Executive Signature HR Manager Director of Workforce Management Director of Workforce Management 2

3 Contents Section Page 1 Introduction 3 2 Purpose 4 3 Definitions Key Responsibilities Social Networking/Blogging Monitoring Compliance and Effectiveness 10 7 Equality Impact Assessment 10 8 References

4 TRUST POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR THE USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES (INCLUDING ACCESS VIA MOBILE DEVICES) 1 INTRODUCTION Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is obliged to abide by all relevant UK legislation and other relevant legislation from the European Union. The use of social networking/blogging sites must be a recreational activity, and kept completely separate to an employees NHS work. Employees must not use these sites to make any comments relating to work where members of the public, colleagues, family and friends may view these. The internet access provided by the Trust must not be used by staff to visit social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Although the Trust has blocked access to these sites via Trust computers, some employees are still able to access sites via mobile devices such as phones and ipads. This is not permitted during paid working hours. The use of social networking/blogging can lead to serious misuse and abuse pertaining to associated risks of litigation and security concerns. The relevant legal issues concern breach of contract, breach of the Data Protection Act 1998, The Computer Misuse Act 1990, and the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1998, defamation, discrimination and breach of Health and Safety legislation. The Trust will always seek to act in a manner that is fair and reasonable with respect to staff and patient privacy concerning personal data under Article 8, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Data Protection Act PURPOSE AND OUTCOMES 2.1 Purpose The purpose of this policy is to clearly define the Trusts expectations in relation to the use of social networking sites. The Trust does not permit the use of social networking sites, other than in clearly agreed and controlled business-specific situations. The use of the Trust internet is only for NHS mail systems and for accessing information via the internet in connection with the employees work. Use of the internet at work should only be for accessing information for clinical, educational, training and research purposes. 4

5 All employees must comply with Trust Information Governance policies and the additional requirements within this policy. All staff should be aware of the acceptable use and relevant legislation associated with the use of internet, and social networking access. 2.2 Outcomes The outcomes are to: Clarify that the use of Social Networking Sites via any means is unacceptable during paid working hours. Clarify that the use of social networking sites via Trust internet access is unacceptable at all times. Clarify that mobile devices may only be used to access social networking sites during unpaid breaks. Preserve patient and staff confidentiality at all times. Prevent the Trust being brought into disrepute. Prevent violation of the Trust CARE standards, Professional Code of Conduct, Dignity at Work Policy, Internet and policy and Social Networking Policy. Prevent the use, retention or forwarding of material that is offensive, obscene or indecent and likely to cause bullying, harassment or defamation of an individual, a group or the Trust. All staff will be responsible for complying with this policy and associated guidelines. 3. DEFINITIONS Conduct Defamation and Libel is the way employees behave, their actions and attitudes. A spoken or written statement or series of statements that affects the reputation of a person or an organisation. If the statement is not true then it is considered slanderous or libellous. 5

6 Harassment Bullying and harassment is based on the complainant s perception of the situation. For further information regarding definitions of harassment see the Trust Policy and Procedures on Dignity at Work. Recreational Time used for non-work related activity Misconduct Gross misconduct Social Networking Conduct which is unacceptable and which will result in disciplinary action being taken. This will initially be a warning; however, if there is insufficient improvement, misconduct could ultimately result in dismissal. Conduct which is such that it indicates that the employee no longer intends to be bound by his or her duties or destroys the trust and confidence the Trust must have in an employee. Gross misconduct will normally result in summary dismissal. Using web based services to build networks and relations with others who share the same interests or activities. Social networking allows individuals to create a public or semi-public profile, create a list of social links and interact with others to share ideas, opinions, activities, events and interests. 4. KEY RESPONSIBILITIES/DUTIES 4.1 Employees To adhere to the requirements and purpose of this policy and associated guidelines. To perform their duties and to conduct themselves to the standards required in an accurate and professional manner including: Never including work related information on social networking sites. Having an awareness of the implications, of sharing information on work life online, on your professional life. Never accepting friend requests from patients / former patients. Never posting pictures, comments or information relating to patients/staff Keeping personal and professional networking separate. Considering everything you post. Never using sites for whistle blowing / raising concerns. 6

7 To raise with their line manager any concerns they have about being the victim or potential victim of inappropriate social networking posts, either directly or indirectly, by colleagues. This may be raised under the Trust s Grievance Procedure or Dignity at Work Policy. To raise with their line manager any genuine concerns they may have about the conduct of colleague/colleagues in regard to social networking/blogging. Employees may raise issues with their manager, seek advice from the HR Support and Advice Team or a Trade Union/Professional Association representative or companion, or use the Raising a Concern (Whistleblowing) Policy, as appropriate. 4.2 Managers To ensure that all employees are aware of the requirements and purpose of this policy and their individual responsibilities in this respect. To ensure that any concerns raised under the scope of this policy are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner and are documented appropriately. To ensure that appropriate action is taken in a timely way where a known or suspected breach of this policy occurs. To ensure that there is no victimisation of employees who have raised a concern or who may have provided information regarding a breach, or potential breach of this policy. 4.3 Human Resources Support and Advice Team Human Resources Support and Advice Team are available to offer advice and guidance to both line managers and employees and have a responsibility to provide all parties with advice to ensure that the policy is applied fairly and consistently. The designated HR Advisor will support line managers as appropriate. 4.4 Trade Union or Accredited Local Negotiating Committee Representative/Workplace Colleague/Companion Trade Unions should work in partnership with managers and will ensure that their members are treated fairly and that the policy is implemented consistently. 4.5 Executive Director of Workforce Management The Executive Director of Workforce Management has a responsibility for ensuring the implementation and monitoring of the HR Policies and Procedures. This work is maintained by Partnership Forum and reported to HR and Workforce Committee and the Trust Joint Council. 7

8 4.6 Workforce Committee This Committee is responsible for the monitoring of HR Policies and Procedures to ensure that the Trust meets employment legislation, good workforce practice and NHSLA Standards. The HR Support & Advice Team will provide statistical information on number of disciplinaries, length of investigations, equality and diversity monitoring, mediation, disciplinary outcomes and comments on usability, although this list is not exhaustive. 4.7 Trust Joint Council This Council provides formal channels for consultation and negotiation by agreeing and providing the scheme of work for the Partnership Forum and considering and agreeing the recommendations from the Partnership Forum in formulation of this policy and its associated procedures. 4.8 Partnership Forum Partnership Forum consults on the content, implementation and monitoring of the HR Policies and Procedures to ensure that the Trust meets employment legislation, good workforce practice and NHSLA Standards. 4.9 Companion At any stage of the procedure an individual may be accompanied by a companion. This companion may be either, an accredited trade union/professional association representative, or a fellow employee. The companion cannot be someone who is part of the investigation 5. SOCIAL NETWORKING/BLOGGING The use of Trust internet services to access social networking and blogging sites is not permitted at any time. Although the Trust has blocked access to social networking and blogging sites via Trust computers, employees may still be able to access the Internet and social networking sites, via mobile devices, such as phones and ipads. This is not permitted during paid working hours. There is an internet café provided in the Trust Library which permits staff to use the internet during break times e.g. not Trust paid time. This does allow access to social networking. However, the same rules apply in terms of adhering to trust policies regarding misuse of IT and inappropriate use. This provision is regularly checked by library staff and monitored for their use. Employees must not, under any circumstances, make any defamatory or derogatory comments regarding patients, visitors, carers, their employers/line managers, their work colleagues/employees, services or contractors. 8

9 Work-related information of any kind (including photographs) should not be included in postings to social networking and blogging sites. Employees must not make comments relating to work on social networking sites, where members of the public, family and friends may view these. Employees cannot join a chat group in the name of an NHS establishment or department, nor can they design a web site from their home PC and publish it under the name of an NHS establishment or department. Employees are not permitted to write or present views on behalf of the Trust or any other NHS department. Employees may contribute to NHS-approved bulletin boards, but must not become involved with non-nhs websites without the authorisation of their Line Manager. Employees contributing to an approved bulletin board (or communicating via ) are expected to conduct themselves in an accurate and professional manner. Employees who inappropriately access social networking/blogging sites or post inappropriate material (pictorial or written) may be liable to disciplinary action in accordance with the Trust Disciplinary Policy or Conduct, Capability and Health Policy in respect of medical staff. If an employee s actions are found to be gross misconduct, this could be sufficiently serious to justify summary dismissal. Employees could also lose their professional registration if they are found to have shared sensitive information. Various Trade Unions, Professional Organisations and Professional Bodies provide guidance and advice in relation to the use of social networking and the impact this may have on individual s professional statuses when use of social networking is deemed inappropriate. Online conduct should not differ to offline conduct in relation to work. Posting on a social networking/blogging site has identical implications to that of s. Employees should be aware that even if deleted, a computers hard drive or server may have kept a copy so the document could be used in Trust and/or legal proceedings. The Trust has ownership of the network providing internet services, which means communication cannot be classed as private permitting the Trust to monitor activity if so required. The telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000 SI 2000/2699 permits exemptions for employers to the general prohibition on intercepting communications as enacted by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act The Trust reserves the right to monitor compliance with this policy on the personal or inappropriate use of social networking sites due to the enhanced risk of the Trust being held vicariously liable for the wrongful actions / allegations of its employees, if done in the course of their 9

10 employment through both discrimination legislation and the Protection from Harassment Act The Trust does operate corporate sites on Facebook and Twitter. However, the purpose of this is for public communication with the Trust. Staff should not use these sites to raise their issues related to work and should follow the appropriate policies. 6 MONITORING COMPLIANCE AND EFFECTIVENESS Monitoring Requirement and Method : Monitoring compliance with the requirements of: Monitoring trends / incidents of inappropriate use reported through complaints of discrimination, bullying & harassment The Equality and Human Rights Steering Group will analyse the equality information in line with the equality workforce monitoring requirements Retrospective review of incidents & cases to determine compliance with this policy Recommendations and action plans will be developed from the analysis and will be part of the six monthly reporting mechanism. Report Prepared by: Monitoring Report presented to: Frequency of Report Employment Services Team Leader Workforce Committee Bi - Annually 7. EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT A Quality Impact Assessment has been completed. 8 REFERENCES Employment Law Brief July 2008 Nursing & Midwifery Council Code 2009 TUC briefing

11 Employment Law CIPD 2010 CIPD Guidance on Social Networking 2011 Royal College of Nursing 2011 Department of Health Informatics networking 2009 Westlaw UK 11

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