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City of York Council is to codify staff use of telephones, e-mail and the ...
City of York Council is to codify staff use of telephones, e-mail and the

internet for the first time.

Members of the council's information technology and telecoms team and

organisational development unit have been working with unions to draw up the

electronic communications policy which will be discussed at the next

executive meeting.

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.

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