1. Aims and Objectives

This policy aims to outline the responsibilities of employees or clients when accessing social media and the internet either personally or for charity purposes. It aims to manage organisational risks when social media and the internet are used for both business and personal use, and to ensure that its use is acceptable to avoid bringing The Berin Centre into disrepute.

“Social media” is the term used to describe the online tools, websites and interactive media that enable users to interact with each other in various ways, through sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests. Social media involves building online communities or networks, which encourage participation, dialogue and involvement.

The Berin Centre recognises the value that social media can have to our business if used in a responsible and professional way and how they can enhance an individual’s personal life. The Charity is committed to maintaining confidentiality and professionalism at all times whilst also upholding its reputation by ensuring users exhibit acceptable behaviours, including where the user makes reference to the Charity when not at work.


2. Scope

This policy applies to all users at The Berin Centre. Individual users are personally accountable for their behaviour and may be held liable for any breaches of this policy. All individuals who work or use the charity premises, including agency, contract workers and volunteers are expected to support the Charity’s policy on internet usage.


3. Legislation

The Berin Centre will adhere to its obligations under the legislation relevant to the use and monitoring of electronic communications, which are predominantly the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000; the Communications Act 2003; General Data Protection Act 2018, the Human Rights Act 1998, the Defamation Act 1996 and the Equality Act 2010.


4. Data Protection and Monitoring

Computers are the property of The Berin Centre and are primarily designed to assist in the performance of academic studies and career development. To ensure appropriate use of the internet, the Charity’s internet software monitors all websites visited by users for business and security purposes. Therefore, users should have no expectation of privacy when it comes to the sites they access from Charity computers and devices.

The Berin Centre may exercise its rights to intercept internet access for the following business reasons:

  • to establish the existence of facts relevant to the Charity’s business;
  • to ascertain compliance with the Internet Usage Policy;
  • to ensure that users using the system are working to required standards;to prevent or detect crime;
  • to investigate or detect the unauthorised use or abuse of the telecommunication systems, including using social media websites;
  • to ensure effective operation of systems and to maintain an adequate level of security.


5. Privacy Settings and Personal Information

Default privacy settings for some social media websites allow some information to be shared beyond an individual’s contacts. In such situations, the user of the site is personally responsible for adjusting the privacy settings for the account. Information available on social media sites could be produced as evidence by the Charity, should it be necessary either as part of Charity procedures, or legal proceedings.

Users are encouraged to review their access and privacy settings for any social media sites to control, restrict and guard against who can access the information on those sites. Even if privacy and security settings are utilised, anything posted on social media sites may be made public by onward transmission.

Social media offers the ability to share personal information rapidly and easily. Users should be aware of protecting passwords and personal information to reduce the risks of abuses such as identity theft.


6. Acceptable Use of Social Media at Work

The Berin Centre computers are first and foremost business tools, and as such personal usage of the systems is a privilege not a right. Users are permitted to make reasonable and appropriate use of social media websites.

Users responsible for contributing to the Charity’s social media activities should be aware at all times that they are representing the Charity.

The Charity accepts that users may wish to use social media channels as a way of communicating personally with the public and / or friends; however, use at work should be restricted to the terms of this policy.

Users may wish to use their own personal devices to access social media websites whilst at work.


7. Appropriate Conduct

The line between public and private, professional and personal is not always clearly defined when using social media. If a user identifies themselves as a user at The Berin Centre, this has the potential to create perceptions about the Charity to a range of external audiences.

When communicating either in a professional or personal capacity, within or outside the workplace, users must:

  • Conduct themselves in accordance with other policies and procedures particularly when using charity social media accounts to portray the Charity’s activities, as this is an extension of the Charity’s infrastructure;
  • Be professional, courteous and respectful as would be expected in any other situation;
  • Think carefully about how and what activities are carried out on social media websites; Be transparent and honest. The Berin Centre will not tolerate users making false representations. If users express personal views, it should be made clear that the views do not represent or reflect the views of the Charity;
  • Remove or request the removal of any inappropriate comments, images or videos of them.


8. Inappropriate Conduct

While using social media or internet usage in any capacity, users’ actions can still damage The Berin Centre’s reputation. When communicating either in a professional or personal capacity, within or outside the workplace, users must not conduct themselves inappropriately. The following are examples of inappropriate conduct:

  • Engaging in activities that have the potential to bring the Charity into disrepute, such as discussing concerns about the Charity or colleagues on a social media forum;
  • Breach of confidentiality by disclosing privileged, sensitive and / or confidential information;
  • Making comments that could be considered to be bullying, harassing or discriminatory against another user or member of staff. If such comments are made about others, and the user is linked to the Charity on their social media platform, consideration will still be given to taking disciplinary action;
  • Posting remarks which may inadvertently cause offence and constitute unlawful discrimination, harassment and / or victimisation;
  • Posting or uploading inappropriate comments, images, photographs and / or video clips about users or clients or staff;
  • Publishing defamatory and / or knowingly false material about the Charity, or other users;
  • Engaging in discussions or anything which may have the potential to cause serious harm to the business;
  • Use of offensive, derogatory or intimidating language which may damage working relationships;
  • Participating in any activity which may compromise a user’s position at the Charity;
  • Commenting on any work-related matters;
  • Posting any material that breaches copyright legislation;
  • Posting anything that may conflict with the interests of the Charity;
  • Using social media websites in any way which is deemed to be unlawful.

The above examples are not exhaustive or exclusive.

Users will be held personally liable for any material published on social media websites that compromise themselves, or the Charity. Postings are documents for the purpose of disclosure.


9. Inappropriate Conduct and Excessive Use

Any breach of this policy will be dealt with in accordance with the Charity’s Disciplinary Policy.

Persistent breaches of this policy may lead to Disciplinary action.


10. Responsibilities

All users are responsible for complying with the requirements of this policy and for reporting any breaches to the Managing Director.

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