Huddersfield New College Further Education Corporation

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1 Huddersfield New College Further Education Corporation Policy for Personal Use of Social Networking and Third Party Websites 1.0 Introduction 1.1 This policy sets out the principles that Huddersfield New College staff and students are expected to follow when using the Internet and social networking sites. The Internet is a fast moving technology and it is impossible to cover all circumstances, however, the principles set out below should always be followed. 1.2 The Internet provides a number of social networking opportunities with which Huddersfield New College staff and students may wish to engage, including for example Facebook, Twitter, and other personal websites, blogs and Twitter accounts. 1.3 However, when someone clearly identifies their association with Huddersfield New College and/or discusses their work, they are expected to behave appropriately when on the Internet, and in ways that are consistent with the College s values and policies. 1.4 The College s reputation and integrity are crucial. The public must be able to trust the integrity of Huddersfield New College. Our audiences need to be confident that the outside activities of staff and students do not undermine the College s reputation or integrity. 1.5 The purpose of this policy is not to stop Huddersfield New College staff and students from conducting legitimate activities on the Internet and social networking sites, but to highlight those areas in which conflicts and pitfalls can arise. Guiding Principles Staff and students who identify themselves as part of Huddersfield New College: Must not engage in activities on the Internet which might bring Huddersfield New College into disrepute. Must not use the Internet in any way to attack or abuse students, colleagues, teachers or tutors. Must not post derogatory or offensive comments on the Internet. 2.0 Social Networking sites 2.1 All Huddersfield New College staff and students should be mindful of the information they disclose on social networking sites. Through the open nature of such sites, it is also possible for third parties to collate vast amounts of information. Where staff and students associate themselves with the College (through providing work details or joining a Huddersfield New College network) they should act in a manner that does not bring Huddersfield New College into disrepute and compromise themselves.

2 2.2 When a staff member is contacted by the press about posts on their social networking site that relates them to Huddersfield New College, the Marketing and Communications Manager must be informed before any response is made. 2.3 If a student is contacted by the press about posts on their social networking site that relates them to Huddersfield New College, they should inform the Student Welfare Manager (Safeguarding) immediately, who will then contact the College s Marketing and Communications Manager. 3.0 Consideration towards other staff and students 3.1 Social networking sites allow photographs, videos and comments to be shared with thousands of other users. However, it may not be appropriate to share work-related information in this way. For example, there may be an expectation that photographs taken at a private Huddersfield New College event will not appear publicly on the Internet, both from those present and perhaps those not at the event. 3.2 Staff and students should be considerate to their colleagues/peers and should think very carefully about the information they post about others and must not post information when they have been asked not to. Staff and students are also required to remove information about a colleague/peer if that colleague/peer asks them to do so. 3.3 Under no circumstances should offensive comments be made about Huddersfield New College staff or students on the Internet. This may amount to cyber-bullying and/or third party harassment and could be deemed a disciplinary offence. 4.0 Wiki Sites and Wikipedia 4.1 The Marketing department is responsible for the writing, overseeing, monitoring and updating of the College s entry on the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia in association with the Senior Management Team. 4.2 No member of staff or student of Huddersfield New College is permitted to write or edit the College s entry. Staff and students should always contact the Marketing department if they find errors in online encyclopaedias relating to Huddersfield New College (such as Wikipedia). 4.3 Editorial changes by Huddersfield New College staff or students to online encyclopaedias or wikis will be recorded as coming from a College IP (Internet Provider) address. The updates will therefore appear to be endorsed by the College even if this is not the case. 4.4 Staff and students should therefore act in a manner that does not bring the College into disrepute and should not post derogatory or offensive comments on any online encyclopaedias. 4.5 When correcting errors about the College, we should be transparent about who we are. We should never remove criticism about Huddersfield New College. Instead, we should respond to legitimate criticism. We should not remove derogatory or offensive comments but must report them to the relative administrators, which will be members of the Marketing Department for most instances and the Senior Management Team for issues considered to be of a highly serious and/or sensitive nature.

3 4.6 Again, staff should refer all online encyclopaedia and wiki editing to the Marketing department and students refer issues to their personal tutors. 5.0 Blogging 5.1 When members of staff use their personal blogs to discuss their Huddersfield New College work, they must ensure that confidential information is not revealed. This might include aspects of Huddersfield New College policies not in the public domain or details of internal Huddersfield New College discussions. If in doubt about what might be confidential, staff members should consult their line manager or a member of the Senior Management Team before making any public disclosure. 5.2 Staff members who already have a personal blog or website which indicates in any way that they work at Huddersfield New College should discuss any potential conflicts of interest with the College s Vice Principal. 5.3 Staff members who want to start blogging, and wish to say that they work for the College should discuss any potential conflicts of interest with the College s Vice Principal. 5.4 Staff members are free to talk about Huddersfield New College programmes and content on their blogs, unless there are specific concerns about the nature of their role (for instance because they are a member of editorial staff). If in doubt, staff members should consult the College s Vice Principal. 6.0 Personal Blogs and websites 6.1 Blogs or websites that are purely about personal matters and do not identify the blogger as a Huddersfield New College employee or do not discuss the College will normally fall outside the guidance set out in this policy. 6.2 However, personal blogs and websites should not be used to attack or abuse colleagues and/or students. Staff members should respect the privacy and the feelings of others. Remember also that if you break the law on a blog (for example by posting something defamatory), you will be personally responsible. 6.3 If a staff member thinks something on their blog or website gives rise to concerns about a conflict of interest, and in particular concerns about impartiality or confidentiality, this must be discussed with the College s Vice Principal. 6.4 If a staff member is offered payment to produce a blog for a third party this could constitute a conflict of interest and must be discussed with the College s Vice Principal. 6.5 When a staff member is contacted by the press about posts on their blog that relate to the College the Marketing and Communications Manager must be consulted, who will liaise with the Senior Management Team, before any response is made. 7.0 Hybrid sites 7.1 It should always be clear to users whether the site they are interacting with is a Huddersfield New College page run by the College for Huddersfield New College purposes or whether this is a personal page run by an individual for their own private purposes.

4 7.2 Staff of the College should avoid creating or endorsing hybrid sites which contain elements of both personal and professional interests as this is likely to cause confusion, editorial problems and brand damage. For example, a staff member s personal profile should not have a URL that contains a Huddersfield New College brand. 7.3 If a department or an individual member of staff would like to set up their own blog they are required to speak with their line manager in the first instance and seek further guidance from the College s Vice Principal as necessary. 8.0 Guidance for Managers 8.1 Managers of the College are required to familiarize themselves with this policy as in many cases they will be required to make decisions about what constitutes appropriate use and content of social networking sites and other online forums. Managers should not adopt an unnecessarily restrictive approach but should exercise common-sense and caution in order to protect individuals and the College. Managers should ensure that any special instructions on blogging are reasonable and explained clearly to staff. 8.2 Managers should bear in mind concerns about impartiality, confidentiality, conflicts of interest and/or commercial sensitivity. In some cases individuals may be dealing with matters that are so sensitive that clear guidance and restrictions may have to be set on what they can and cannot talk about on their personal blog. 8.3 Those involved in editorial or production areas must take particular care to ensure that they do not undermine the integrity or impartiality of Huddersfield New College or its output on their blogs. Managers can consult the College s Internet Acceptable Use / e-safety policy or contact the College Marketing department for further guidance. 9.0 Disciplinary action 9.1 If a member of staff or student is found to be engaging in any form of online activity that is deemed as cyber bullying and/or third party harrassment, bringing the College s reputation into disrepute and/or uses the Internet in any way to attack or abuse students, colleagues, teachers or tutors it is likely to be treated as a highly serious matter subject to the College s disciplinary procedures. 9.2 For students the Student Welfare Manager (Safeguarding) will be contacted to discuss the matter with the student(s) directly. Parents/guardians may also be informed of any misconduct deemed to have been committed. Depending on the perceived level of alleged misconduct, disciplinary action could lead to exclusion from the College. 9.3 For members of staff who are alleged to have committed an act or acts of misconduct under this policy, the College s Disciplinary Procedure is likely to be invoked. Depending on the perceived level of alleged misconduct, disciplinary action could warrant a disciplinary sanction up to and including summary dismissal General 10.1 This policy is not contractual but is applicable to individual staff members employment with the College and students of the College.

5 10.2 This policy should be read in conjunction with the following*: Staff Code of Conduct IT Acceptable Use Policy / e-safety Policy Safeguarding Policy Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy Equal Opportunities Policy Disciplinary Policy and Procedure Grievance Policy and Procedure *Please note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list and all staff and students should endeavour to familiarize themselves with all College policies and procedures.

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