Social media guidelines scrapped and started again

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is to redraft its social media guidelines, following an informal consultation event.

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By Civil Service World

25 Apr 2012

The guidelines, which had been published in their draft format, looked at how the civil service can make the best use of social media. Featuring guidance aimed at civil servants in general as well as specialists such as communications professionals, the document included rules from sources including the Civil Service Code and data laws.

However, the @Teacamp event on 12 April – an informal meeting for officials interested in digital media – revealed that civil servants are nervous about social media. In particular, they are unsure if and where lines can be drawn between their personal and professional lives.

“If you sign up to the civil service code, it has to apply to all aspects of your life even when you are not at work,” suggested one delegate, while another felt they stop being a civil servant when they leave the office.

Delegates also said that case studies and examples of best practice would prove as useful as guidelines.

The GDS has since confirmed it has “scrapped entirely the guidelines we produced and gone back to the drawing board” following @Teacamp, and the service is now working on a new document. “The set of draft guidelines which were being discussed at @Teacamp bear no resemblance to the current draft being worked on,” said Louise Kidney, digital engagement lead at the GDS. “The content is a loose framework currently and no more than that. We’re not in a position to comment further at the moment.”

It is anticipated that the new guidelines will be published in May.

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