internet for the first time.
Members of the council's information technology and telecoms team and
electronic communications policy which will be discussed at the next
Tracey Carter, the council's head of IT and T, said, 'This is an issue of
good human resources practice rather than a response to any specific
incidents. All large organisations across the world who depend on
electronic communications are having to adopt codes of practice for their
employees for the mutual benefits of staff and employers.
'We have been looking at best practice across the public sector and we have
been working with senior managers and the council's trades unions to
formulate an acceptable code for all users of the internet, mobile 'phones,
land lines and other electronic communications equipment.
'This aims to ensure that everyone knows what they are and are not allowed
to do, what is expected of them and to spell out the external risks of
abuse of things like the internet which could render both the council and
employees liable to legal action in some cases.'
The council encourages the widest possible use of electronic communications
by staff in their work and recognises the worth of tools such as the world
wide web and mobile 'phones.
Ms Carter said, 'We are hoping this new policy will be welcomed by all staff
as a useful guide to issues which have sometimes been a grey area - not
just at this council but in both public and private sector organisations up
and down the country.'
The policy will be circulated to all electronic communications users. It
covers the use of both internal and external email, the internet and the
intranet and telephones.
The policy also explains what tracking arrangements exist to detect and deal
with any misuse or abuse of electronic communications and outlines the
council's commitment to flexibility within the policy - for example by
allowing staff to set up personal telephone accounts to pay for calls.