Internet, Social Networking and Telephone Policy

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1 Internet, Social Networking and Telephone Policy Contents 1. Policy Statement Scope Internet / Social Media / Social Networking Accessing the internet, or social networking from personal equipment Telephones / fax machines Mobile phones and communication equipment in vehicles Monitoring of use Policy Monitoring Policy Statement 1.1. Advances in technology allow employees to carry out their work and communicate with colleagues and customers in a variety of ways. Correct usage will enhance the work carried out by the Council and help staff in carrying out their duties Employees are required to use any facilities provided by the Council in an appropriate and professional manner

2 1.3. This policy covers use of: Internet Telephones Mobile phones, and Fax machines 1.4. This policy also covers the use of social media / networking sites recognising that staff are now communicating more with the outside world in this way. Comments on social media sites can have damaging consequences for both the Council and the individual if used inappropriately so it is important that employees use these sites responsibly at all This policy recognises that employees can access the internet, s and social networking sites via their own personal devices so also covers the employee s use of their personal mobile device / Smart phone or any other means of electronic interaction. Only a reasonable amount of personal usage should take place during working hours for instance in an emergency or with the understanding of the employee s line manager The improper use of any of these systems could expose both the Council and the user to potential legal liability; the Council will therefore regulate its use in a fair and reasonable manner Any failure to comply with the policy or abuse of the system (i.e. excessive and/or inappropriate use) may result in facilities being withdrawn and disciplinary action being taken If this policy does not refer to a particular type of communication device, employees should use their professional judgement and take the most prudent action possible. Employees should consult with their line manager or supervisor if they are uncertain. 2. Scope 2.1. This policy applies to all employees other than those in educational establishments with delegated powers. 3. Internet / The Council reserves the right to monitor internet and usage Employees should not use the internet or facilities for personal use unless it is used: for work related purposes such as research whilst studying for exams, for purposes of Helping Hands or outside work time, i.e. before or after work or during lunchtime

3 3.3. Occasional reasonable use for private s will be allowed subject to the prior consent of the officer s line manager. Permission to do so is at the discretion of the employees line manager. Consent for this use must be obtained prior to the use and the line manager must keep a written record of the authorisation - an exchange will suffice 3.4. Use of facility for personal incoming s should be discouraged, although the Council accepts this may be beyond the employees control. However, if an employee then forwards an inappropriate , this may be a disciplinary matter The Internet and facility shall not be used for transmitting or receiving material which is: Illegal, obscene, offensive, fraudulent etc. Discriminatory (particularly on the basis of any of the protected characteristics included in the Equality Act These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation). Defamatory including libellous and slanderous comments An intrusion into other people's privacy, or which may be construed as harassment In breach of Copyright (NOTE: it is illegal to download or copy material without prior permission of the owner; Furthermore, Copyright in material exists automatically, and no statement to this effect is required). In contravention of the Data Protection Act (using personal data for unauthorised purpose) or confidential information Employees must not use the Internet or facility for: Chain letters Private business use or personal advertisements Chat lines or playing games On-line betting or gambling Newsgroups, Bulletin Boards, Mailing Lists other than for work purposes, unless in agreement with your Manager any Manager giving permission for this will need to keep a record of such subscriptions. These are areas where names and addresses are made available to a wider audience and as such could result in junk mail (SPAM) causing overloading of mailboxes and wasted time. Downloading files, Shareware or Freeware you may not be aware of the correct licensing issues; in addition, you could introduce viruses into the organisation it is important that you stick to safe sites. Council staff are reminded that all software must be installed by Technical Support. With the exception of training or for genuine work related reasons, downloading/streaming of video/audio programs as this can cause network congestion it should only be done with the authorisation of your line manager and outside general office time when necessary. Purchasing on-line, other than for work purposes, and then only in accordance with the Council's e-commerce and general procurement policy. Employees should not access of any other employee unless specifically authorised. Employees should not send s from another employee's computer unless specifically authorised

4 3.6. For further information please see the Internet and Use Policy 4. Social Media / Social Networking 4.1. Social media is a form of technology that enables online users to interact and share information (including video, photographs, text and audio) publicly or privately with one another. It includes a variety of communication tools which are internet based, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and wikis Employees must always use social media / social networking in line with the principles of this policy, whether it is being used for business or personal purposes, during working hours or otherwise Access to social networking websites from the Council s IT network is only granted for specific service reasons in a work-related professional capacity, further information can be found in the Social Media Usage Guidance document. There is no general access for staff and members Outside of the Council, employees can all freely access social media sites, from home, mobile phones, public internet (cafes, libraries etc). Employees must ensure that any form of social media or social networking that is accessed outside-of-work is handled in a sensible and considered way so that neither the individual(s) involved nor the Council is put at potential risk of embarrassment, loss, disciplinary action or criminal proceedings Employees should never publish or disclose any confidential information or information about the Council which is not already in the public arena. Employees must ensure that online activities do not interfere with their job, colleagues or commitments to customers. Employees should not post negative comments about their work, the Council or their colleagues. Employees should not post any comments about the Council that do not represent the views of the Council. It is possible that outside activities could lead to complaints of harassment or bullying even though they are not committed in the workplace Employees should not use social media or networking sites to befriend service users or attack or abuse colleagues, customers or suppliers Any abusive or inappropriate comments whether made to or about the Council, colleagues, customers or suppliers will not be tolerated and may lead to legal liability as well as disciplinary action including dismissal. 5. Accessing the internet, or social networking from personal equipment It is a disciplinary offence for an employee to access any form of social networking, or internet site via 3G by mobile or otherwise for personal use during working time. Any employee found to be doing this may be subject to disciplinary proceedings

5 6. Telephones / fax machines 6.1. Telephones and fax machines should only be used for personal purposes if the matter is considered urgent. The Line Manager's permission should always be sought first and calls recorded and paid for in accordance with the procedures stated in Accounting Instruction (A.I.) No Employees provided with a mobile phone for business purposes are required to identify and pay for any personal calls made in accordance with A.I. No Personal calls must be paid for in line with A.I. No. 8, which instructs "where telephones have the facility to record personal calls i.e. by pressing the "4" button to get an outside line, then this must always be used before making any personal call." 6.4. Where the "4" button facility does not exist, employees should have permission from their Line Manager before making any personal calls. These calls must be recorded and paid for as per A.I. No Mobile phones and communication equipment in vehicles 7.1. The Council recognises that employees who use hand-held mobile phones and other hand-held devices for accessing data and / or sending / receiving messages whilst driving are committing a criminal offence and putting themselves and others at risk Employees whose job requires them to be frequently contacted whilst driving or who need to contact their Line Manager on a frequent basis are required to: - Comply with all instructions and guidance provided to them in the interests of their health and safety. Never answer or make a call on hand-held mobile phone / communication equipment whilst driving. Before making or receiving a call on hand-held communication equipment, pull over and stop in a safe place, apply the handbrake and switch off the engine. Bring to the attention of their line manager, departmental / service unit health and safety officer any deficiencies with regard to this policy All employees are reminded that transgressions would include using the hand-held equipment i.e. Radio Traffic system: at traffic lights in a traffic jam in slow moving traffic in order to say "I am just pulling over to answer your call" to communicate by text message or by any other interactive means 7.4. Although it would not be an offence to have a hand-held phone / communication equipment switched on while in the car, any attempt to - 5 -

6 respond by the driver would be an offence The Council will not pay any fines if an employee is issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice or successfully prosecuted by the police for using mobile phone or communication equipment in a vehicle. 8. Monitoring of use 8.1. All information processed on the Council's system is the property of the City and County of Swansea, and may be accessed or monitored by the Council. Should the need arise; a record of sites visited can be accessed by managers upon request The City and County of Swansea reserves the right to monitor staff use of the Internet and , including private use to ensure lawful use in accordance with this policy. Employees cannot expect any messages composed, received or sent on the Authority's network, regardless of the use of personal passwords, to be for private viewing only Internet and monitoring will be carried out only so far as to ensure proper use of the facility, and in particular to stop inappropriate or unlawful use such as sending harassing or defamatory messages to others, or to prevent its use in criminal activities Should you personally receive any material which falls into the categories discussed above, or accidentally visit a site that would be deemed unsuitable, contact your line manager who will take note of the fact All employees should report possible misuse to their line manager. 9. Policy Monitoring 9.1. The Council will monitor the application of this policy and has discretion to review it at any time through the appropriate consultation mechanisms Responsibility for the implementation, monitoring and development of this policy lies with the Head of Human Resources. Day to day operation of the policy is the responsibility of nominated officers who will ensure that this policy is adhered to. Version Details of Change Date Number 1.0 Introduction of Single Status 1 st April

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