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Departmental ICT

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the rules of his Department and its agencies are on the use of work computers for personal communication. (306705)

Personal computers, email and other DEFRA IT facilities are provided primarily for work related purposes. A reasonable level of personal use of the work email account is permitted providing that:

the sending or receipt of personal email messages does not interfere with work commitments;

the email messages do not constitute any misuse of email, e.g. downloading or forwarding chain mail, or material of a pornographic, sexist, racist or derogatory nature;

staff do not use the departmental email system for any kind of private business or to raise money for themselves or anyone else. To use email in connection with fund-raising activities for a recognised charity, staff must first consult about the propriety aspects;

the email messages could not adversely affect DEFRA's reputation.

DEFRA agencies have similar rules in place for the use of work computers for personal communication.