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November 22, 2018 Social Media Manager Software

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Re-entering the Digital Age?
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I apologise for what turned out to to be a misleading and inaccurate post.

On 16 October 2009, I got the email below from Stuart Young who was then Assistant Chief Executive in Haringey.
  I read it as meaning that my then Labour colleagues, "cabinet" councillors in the London Borough of Haringey, had overturned an officers’ decision to block Social Media websites for the borough’s staff.
  So it looked as though our staff would again be treated as grown-ups and professionals. Because Mr Young referred to a report at the Cabinet Advisory Board * meeting 15 October 2009 which approved a six-month trial giving staff access to social media channels when this related to the Council’s work.
  My original post on this page reported what seemed a welcome if nervous return by Haringey to the twenty-first century.
  But I was wrong. The report and the six-month trial both sank without trace. Haringey closed its eyes and snuggled back under its IT comfort blanket.

What’s this about? The problem discovered

In September 2009 I was an elected councillor in the London Borough of Haringey. Towards the end of the schools’ summer holiday, I was told about serious problems with a building project in a local school. Students were due to start back, so the problem was urgent.
  With the permission of the headteacher, and accompanied by staff, I quickly took photos in the otherwise empty building. To make them rapidly available to Peter Lewis, then Director of Haringey Children’s Services, I posted them in a private Flickr folder and emailed Mr Lewis an access password.
  Shockingly, both Mr Lewis and his P.A. were blocked from viewing the photos. And at the time they did not know why.

A Software Block

I then discovered that a new software block was operating which stopped all Haringey staff from accessing not only Flickr but other social media websites.
  On 2 October 2009 I emailed a "Member Enquiry" – a formal councillor’s request – asking which websites were blocked, and for other information.
  Scroll down to see the reply I got on 16 October 2009 from Stuart Young, Haringey Assistant Chief Executive. Mr Young sent me a second email on 23 October 2009, which is posted further down this page. As are my replies to Mr Young.

—– Original Message —–
From : Stuart Young, Assistant Chief Executive, People, Organisation & Development
To : Alan Stanton, Tottenham Hale ward councillor
Sent : Friday, October 16, 2009 10:58 AM
Subject : Blocked websites – Cost of business case for individual unblocking

Dear Councillor Stanton

I refer to your recent Member Enquiry regarding blocked websites and respond to your questions as follows:

The Council has an internet content filtering tool called “WebSense” that monitors over 36 million websites; hence it would not be feasible to provide you with a list of those sites that are blocked.

This tool has been configured to block web site categories (rather than specific sites) that are considered unacceptable by our Authority (as per the Council’s ‘Internet Acceptable Usage Policy’.) The blocked web site categories are listed below for your reference:

● Adult material ● Peer to peer file sharing ●· Personal network storage ●· Drugs ●· Gambling ●· Games ●· Illegal ●· Hacking ●· MP3 and Download ●· Social networking and personal ●· Militancy and Extremist ●· Racism and hate ●· Tasteless ●· Violence ●· Weapons ●· Web chat

In October 2007, there was consultation between Human Resources, Legal Services and Information Technology Services where a more relaxed stance to the Policy was agreed. Since that date only minor cosmetic changes have been made to the document.

In terms of line Managers monitoring the internet usage of their own staff via WebSense, unfortunately this would not be feasible. The tool cannot be configured to only allow Managers to review the usage of their own staff only. Giving administrative access to managers would allow them to report on the internet usage of all staff and Members, not just their own subordinates. In addition, administration of the tool is complex and would require implementation of an expensive Council Wide training programme. Therefore, where management have concerns over the potential misuse of the Council’s internet facility, referrals are made to HR, Internal Audit and IT Security management for investigation and to produce the reports.

Due to the vast number of websites monitored by WebSense (mentioned above) it is not practical to consult with staff regarding any possible consequence of singular sites being banned under the approved blocked categories. However, if a site is blocked and there is a valid business reason for the site to be opened, an officer only needs to complete a Harinet online change request form (which is free of charge) and takes approximately 5 minutes to complete and submit. Since the beginning of September 2009 there have been no requests made for access to social media sites.

A review of the policy is currently underway specifically focussing on business change and the use of social media and social networking channels. A report on this subject matter is due to be submitted by the Assistant Chief Executive – People, Organisation and Development to the Cabinet Advisory Board on the 15th October 2009. The report is seeking approval for a 6-month trial giving all staff access to social media channels for business related networking via the Council’s network. Such policy changes are the subject of consultation with Haringey trades unions.

I hope the above answers the questions raised.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Young
Assistant Chief Executive
People & Organisational Development


§ * Haringey had a so-called Cabinet Advisory Board – usually referred to as CAB. This is the real Council cabinet meeting which makes decisions prior to the formal meeting. So things to can be kept from the prying eyes of residents who have to pay for this pantomime.
§ Click here to read further details. And for the helpful comments and suggested website links from Hugh Flouch, James Grinter, Liz Ixer, Danny McL, and Kake Pugh.

LeWeb: Google Analytics: Bringing Accountability to Social Media
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Ilya Grigorik Software Engineering Manager and Phil Mui Group Product Manager

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