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Appropriate Use Of Internet And Email

22 April 2005

Appropriate Use Of Internet And Email In The State Services

The State Services Commissioner, Mark Prebble, today released a copy of the letter he has sent today to all State sector chief executives regarding the appropriate use of Internet and email by their staff.

"I support the actions taken by the Commissioner of Police, Rob Robinson, to both undertake an audit of Police systems and to respond strongly and appropriately to the results of that audit.

"I have been advised by the Police that approximately 80 instances involve material sourced from other public sector agencies. I am concerned about the impact this has on the reputation of all 250,000 public sector workers.

"In light of these events, I am writing to all State sector chief executives to ask them to support any Police inquiry and to remind them that to minimise risk and to protect the reputation of the State Services, it is good practice to have clear policies in place and regularly audit Internet and email systems," Mark Prebble said.


Copy of the letter, sent 22 April 2005


Letter to State sector organisations

22 April 2005

Appropriate Use of Email and Internet Systems As you will be aware, Rob Robinson yesterday announced that internal checks have identified inappropriate use of Internet and email systems by a number of Police staff. I support and applaud the actions taken by the Commissioner of Police to both undertake an audit of Police systems and to respond strongly and appropriately to the results of that audit.

The Commissioner of Police is rightly concerned not only about the existence of the images themselves, but also the shadow that the actions of 330 staff have cast over 9600 serving police and civilian staff. The reputation of many can easily be damaged by a few.

I am advised that approximately 80 instances involve material sourced from other public sector agencies. I am concerned, as I am sure you are, about the impact this has on the reputation of all 250,000 public sector workers. If your agency was the source of this material, you will already have been, or soon will be, contacted by the Police. I understand that it may take up to two weeks for the information on individuals to be available to agencies. I urge you to support the Police by acting decisively and appropriately if contacted about this matter.

Inappropriate use of Internet and email has been the subject of guidance from the SSC in previous years and is likely to be an integrity and trust issue for years to come. To minimise risk and to protect the reputation of the State Services, it is good practice to regularly audit Internet and email systems. I have recently conducted an audit of the SSC's systems to ensure that computers are being used appropriately and I recommend that you do the same.

The State Services needs to be technology literate and have the capability to make the most of a valuable resource. This needs to be balanced with the need to use resources wisely and maintain the public's trust. Any Crown organisation's policies and procedures must support those dual objectives.

The SSC is willing to provide advice and support to your organisation if you wish to carry out an audit or to review your Internet and email policies. Please contact Beith Atkinson if you wish to access any further information, or seek advice on how to proceed if contacted by the Police on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Mark Prebble State Services Commissioner

ENDS

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