Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) is a broad term for any kind of online platform which enables people to directly interact with each other. However some games, for example Minecraft or World of Warcraft and video sharing platforms such as You Tube have social media elements to them.
DA Training and Consultancy recognises the numerous benefits and opportunities which a social media presence offers. Staff, parents/carers and learners are actively encouraged to find creative ways to use social media. However, there are some risks associated with social media use, especially around the issues of safeguarding, bullying and personal reputation. This policy aims to encourage the safe use of social media by the company, its staff, parents, carers and children.
This policy is subject to the Company’s Codes of Conduct and Acceptable Use Agreements.
- Applies to all staff and to all online communications which directly or indirectly, represent the company.
- Applies to such online communications posted at any time and from anywhere.
- Encourages the safe and responsible use of social media through training and education
- Defines the monitoring of public social media activity pertaining to the company
The Company respects privacy and understands that staff and learners may use social media forums in their private lives. However, personal communications likely to have a negative impact on professional standards and/or the company’s reputation are within the scope of this policy.
Professional communications are those made through official channels, posted on a school account or using the school name. All professional communications are within the scope of this policy.
Personal communications are those made via a personal social media accounts. In all cases, where a personal account is used which associates itself with the company or impacts on the company, it must be made clear that the member of staff is not communicating on behalf of the company with an appropriate disclaimer. Such personal communications are within the scope of this policy.
Personal communications which do not refer to or impact upon the company are outside the scope of this policy.
Digital communications with learners are also considered. Staff may use social media to communicate with learners via a company social media account for teaching and learning purposes but must consider whether this is appropriate and consider the potential implications.
- Facilitating training and guidance on Social Media use.
- Developing and implementing the Social Media policy
- Taking a lead role in investigating any reported incidents.
- Making an initial assessment when an incident is reported and involving appropriate staff and external agencies as required.
- Receive completed applications for Social Media accounts
- Approve account creation
- Administrator / Moderator
- Create the account following SMT approval
- Store account details, including passwords securely
- Be involved in monitoring and contributing to the account
- Control the process for managing an account after the lead staff member has left the organisation (closing or transferring)
- Know the contents of and ensure that any use of social media is carried out in line with this and other relevant policies
- Attending appropriate training
- Regularly monitoring, updating and managing content he/she has posted via school accounts
- Adding an appropriate disclaimer to personal accounts when naming the company
The company is encouraged to consider if a social media account will help them in their work, e.g. an Apprenticeship department Twitter account, or a Learners within Facebook page. Anyone wishing to create such an account must present a business case to the Senior Management Team which covers the following points:-
- The aim of the account
- The intended audience
- How the account will be promoted
- Who will run the account (at least two staff members should be named)
- Will the account be open or private/closed
Following consideration by the SMT an application will be approved or rejected. In all cases, the SMT must be satisfied that anyone running a social media account on behalf of the company has read and understood this policy and received appropriate training. This also applies to anyone who is not directly employed by the company, including volunteers or parents.
Company accounts must be monitored regularly and frequently (preferably 7 days a week, including during holidays). Any comments, queries or complaints made through those accounts must be responded to within 24 hours (or on the next working day if received at a weekend) even if the response is only to acknowledge receipt. Regular monitoring and intervention is essential in case a situation arises where bullying or any other inappropriate behaviour arises on a school social media account.
- The company requires that all users using social media adhere to the standard of behaviour as set out in this policy and other relevant policies.
- Digital communications by staff must be professional and respectful at all times and in accordance with this policy. Staff will not use social media to infringe on the rights and privacy of others or make ill-considered comments or judgments about staff. Company social media accounts must not be used for personal gain. Staff must ensure that confidentiality is maintained on social media even after they leave the employment of the company.
- Users must declare who they are in social media posts or accounts. Anonymous posts are discouraged in relation to company activity.
- If a journalist makes, contact about posts made using social media staff must follow the company social media policy before responding.
- Unacceptable conduct, (e.g. defamatory, discriminatory, offensive, harassing content or a breach of data protection, confidentiality, copyright) will be considered extremely seriously by the company and will be reported as soon as possible to a relevant senior member of staff and escalated where appropriate.
- The use of social media by staff while at work may be monitored, in line with school policies. The company permits reasonable and appropriate access to private social media sites. However, where excessive use is suspected, and considered to be interfering with relevant duties, disciplinary action may be taken.
- The company will take appropriate action in the event of breaches of the company social media policy. Where conduct is found to be unacceptable, the company will deal with the matter internally. Where conduct is considered illegal, the company will report the matter to the police and other relevant external agencies and may take action according to the disciplinary policy.
- Users of social media should consider the copyright of the content they are sharing and, where necessary, should seek permission from the copyright holder before sharing.
- Users must ensure that their use of social media does not infringe upon relevant data protection laws, or breach confidentiality.
- When acting on behalf of the company, handle offensive comments swiftly and with sensitivity.
- If a conversation turns and becomes offensive or unacceptable, school users should block, report or delete other users or their comments/posts and should inform the audience exactly why the action was taken
- If you feel that you or someone else is subject to abuse by colleagues through use of a social networking site, then this action must be reported using the agreed company protocols.
The tone of content published on social media should be appropriate to the audience, whilst retaining appropriate levels of professional standards. Key words to consider when composing messages are:
- Friendly (on certain platforms, e.g. Facebook)
Company use of images can be assumed to be acceptable, providing the following guidelines are strictly adhered to.
- Permission to use any photos or video recordings should be sought in line with the company’s digital and video images policy. If anyone, for any reason, asks not to be filmed or photographed then their wishes should be respected.
- Under no circumstances should staff share or upload learner pictures online other than via company owned social media accounts
- Staff should exercise their professional judgement about whether an image is appropriate to share on company social media accounts. Learners should be appropriately dressed, not be subject to ridicule and must not be on any company list of children whose images must not be published.
- If a member of staff inadvertently takes a compromising picture which could be misconstrued or misused, they must delete it immediately.
- Personal communications are those made via a personal social media accounts. In all cases, where a personal account is used which associates itself with the company or impacts on the company, it must be made clear that the member of staff is not communicating on behalf of the school with an appropriate disclaimer. Such personal communications are within the scope of this policy.
- Personal communications which do not refer to or impact upon the company are outside the scope of this policy.
- Where excessive personal use of social media in work is suspected, and considered to be interfering with relevant duties, disciplinary action may be taken
- The company permits reasonable and appropriate access to private social media sites.
- Staff are not permitted to follow or engage with current or prior learners of the company on any personal social media network account.
- The company’s delivery programme should enable the pupils/students to be safe and responsible users of social media.
- Learners are encouraged to comment or post appropriately about the company. Any offensive or inappropriate comments will be resolved by the use of the company’s learner agreement policy.
- If parents/carers have access to a company learning platform where posting or commenting is enabled, parents/carers will be informed about acceptable use.
- The company has an active parent/carer education programme which supports the safe and positive use of social media. This includes information on the website.
- Parents/Carers are encouraged to comment or post appropriately about the company. In the event of any offensive or inappropriate comments being made, the school will ask the parent/carer to remove the post and invite them to discuss the issues in person. If necessary, refer parents to the company’s complaints procedures.
- As part of active social media engagement, it is considered good practice to pro-actively monitor the Internet for public postings about the company.
- The company should effectively respond to social media comments made by others according to a defined policy or process.
- “Nothing” on social media is truly private
- Social media can blur the lines between your professional and private life. Don’t use the company logo and/or branding on personal accounts
- Check your settings regularly and test your privacy
- Keep an eye on your digital footprint
- Keep your personal information private
- Regularly review your connections – keep them to those you want to be connected to
- When posting online consider; Scale, Audience and Permanency of what you post
- If you want to criticise, do it politely.
- Take control of your images – do you want to be tagged in an image? What would children or parents say about you if they could see your images?
- Know how to report a problem
- Check with a senior Manager before publishing content that may have controversial implications for the company
- Use a disclaimer when expressing personal views
- Make it clear who is posting content
- Use an appropriate and professional tone
- Be respectful to all parties
- Ensure you have permission to ‘share’ other peoples’ materials and acknowledge the author
- Express opinions but do so in a balanced and measured manner
- Think before responding to comments and, when in doubt, get a second opinion
- Seek advice and report any mistakes using the company’’s reporting process
- Consider turning off tagging people in images where possible
- Don’t make comments, post content or link to materials that will bring the company into disrepute
- Don’t publish confidential or commercially sensitive material
- Don’t breach copyright, data protection or other relevant legislation
- Consider the appropriateness of content for any audience of school accounts, and don’t link to, embed or add potentially inappropriate content
- Don’t post derogatory, defamatory, offensive, harassing or discriminatory content
- Don’t use social media to air internal grievances