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  4. How we use social media (our policy)

How we use social media (our policy)

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Our social media accounts are a quick and easy way to contact us about council services for residents, businesses and visitors to the county. Our privacy notice tells you how we process your information when you contact us via social media.

We want you to receive a high quality service however you choose to get in touch.

Our commitment to you:

  • we will be friendly, polite and honest
  • we will always try to answer your query straight away
  • if we can’t resolve the matter immediately we will give you the name and contact details of the person who will respond
  • we will protect your privacy
  • we will monitor our social media accounts and keep a record of all posts to and from our accounts
  • we will maintain the Council’s customer service standards, as set out in our Customer Promise.

Responding and replying

We try to respond to queries within one working day.

Most of our accounts are monitored during normal working hours 8.30am to 5pm (4.30pm on Fridays). See each account for their individual response times.

To keep your personal data private, never disclose information of a confidential nature when you post a message to us.

If your query is serious, urgent, or involves personal details, you might want to telephone or contact one of our services online instead. If are not happy with a service, here’s some guidance on how to make a complaint.

Liking and following

Please don’t be offended if we don’t ‘like’ or ‘follow’ you on social media. We usually only follow or like people who provide information that is pertinent to our work as a local authority (for example central government accounts, local media, and our partners) or those whose information we can pass on for the benefit of many local people.

There will also be times we’ll need to like or follow an account in order to take part in conversations.

Just because we like or follow someone, retweet or share their information, it doesn’t mean that we endorse them.

Sharing and retweeting

If we share information, we are not necessarily endorsing it.

We try and share or retweet information that we think will be of interest or of use to you, however please don’t be offended if we don’t retweet something you want us to.

Acceptable use

We reserve the right to keep a record of and remove any contributions that break any of the following acceptable use guidelines:

  • be civil and polite
  • don’t post messages that are unlawful, libellous, harassing, defamatory, offensive, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented or racially offensive
  • don’t swear
  • don’t post content copied from elsewhere for which you do not own the copyright
  • be cautious about what you retweet: if you share or retweet a tweet with a photo that someone else used without the photographer’s permission, you may be liable to prosecution, just as the original tweeter is liable
  • don’t post the same message, or very similar messages, more than once (also called “spamming”)
  • don’t publicise your, or anyone else’s, personal information, such as contact details
  • don’t advertise products or services
  • don’t impersonate someone else.

On occasion, some people’s behaviour towards our staff can get out of hand and has an impact on their wellbeing and on our work. Please see our policy for managing unreasonable customer behaviour, which aims to set out to staff and customers how we will manage the rare situations when customers behave unreasonably in their contacts with us.

Restricting communication, such as blocking, will be considered as a final approach, if a customer contravenes the guidance set out above.

Pre-election period

In the six-week run up to an election, we will continue to publish important service announcements using social media. However during this time, councils have to be especially careful not to say anything that could be seen to support any political party or candidate.

So although we might post less, that doesn’t mean we’re not doing anything. Our work will continue through the pre-election period. We just won’t be talking about it much in the run-up to the election. This is in line with central government election guidance (.GOV).

Our staff policies

As with our other personnel policies, if you work for East Sussex County Council, please see our intranet for our social media policy for those who it as part of their job, and our policy for those using it in a personal capacity.

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