The MoJ's mea culpa

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Mr David Brown Head of Editorial OCTANE PR Millbank Tower, Millbank London, SW1P 4RS
davidbrown@octanepr.com
Human Resources Directorate 3.06, 3rd Floor 102 Petty France, London SW1H 9AJ
T: 0203 334 4572
E: claire.green@justice.gsi.gov.uk
www.justice.gov.uk
3rd February 2010
Ref : FOI/62018
Dear Mr Brown
Re: Request under the 2000 Freedom of Information Act
Further to your email dated 5th November 2009 requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to your request.
Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). I can confirm that we hold the information you have requested, and I have provided responses to your questions in the order they have been raised for ease of reference.
1.
What is your policy on staff access to social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, during work hours for a) professional reasons b) personal reasons?
MoJ policy is that staff cannot access social networking sites for personal reasons. Staff can only access such sites for professional reasons if they are able to provide a strong business case that shows they need to use these media to perform their role. In addition Web filtering tools are in place that block social networking sites in order to safeguard MoJ IT services.
2.
Do you monitor the profiles of employees or prospective employees on social networking websites?
No we do not monitor profiles of employees or prospective employees on social networking websites.
3.
What disciplinary actions have been taken against employees for the misuse of social media in the past 18 months and how many have been disciplined?
In the last 18 months our central records show that:
1 member of staff has received a First Written Warning;
3 members of staff have received a Final Written Warning;
4 members of staff have been dismissed;
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For misuse of social networking sites.
4.
What, if any, guidelines do you have for employees using social networking sites?
Guidelines and information on use of the sites are available on the intranet, in the IT Security Awareness Guide and in the MoJ Conduct policy. The guidance states that staff who are permitted access to social networking sites (see answer to 1) must not use their work email account to register. They should comply with the Cabinet Office
Participation online guidance at:
http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/iam/codes/social_media/participation.asp <http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/iam/codes/social_media/participation.asp> .
Our guidelines explain the security risks posed to the MoJ and individuals by social networking sites which are often used as a host for malicious software. These could try and attack departmental IT systems. Staff should not use the instant messenger or email facilities within these sites as they may inadvertently release sensitive information about themselves or the MoJ. Staff are advised against disclosing details about their job or making negative comments about the MoJ.
5.
How many incidents of confidential information or records being leaked via social media and the internet have occurred in the last 18 months?
Our central records show that there have been no incidents of disclosure of confidential information though use of social media have been reported.
6.
Does your organisation make use of social media to inform the public?
Yes the MoJ uses Twitter and has its own page on Youtube
7.
Have any of your computer networks been compromised as a result of staff using social media?
This information is already in public domain, the Justice Secretary responded to a similar Parliamentary Question relating to IT security, which was tabled by Anne Main MP on 10th March 2009. As the information is already in public domain it is therefore exempt by virtue of section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act. Section 21 exempts information, which is reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means. Nevertheless, on this occasion we have provided you with necessary website link:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090310/text/90310w0008.htm#090310127000458
I trust you find the above helpful.

Yours sincerely
Claire Green
Group HR Secretariat
Human Resources Directorate

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