Social Media Policy & Guidelines
Social media platforms have become an increasingly popular channel for communication in the 21st century. They provide ways to share content with a wide audience, and as such are excellent tools for sharing information about Global CT Institute (GCTI) activities. However, as with any powerful tool, social media needs to be used with caution, as incorrect use can have a damaging impact on
GCTI's public image. This document has been written to assist individuals to use these platforms effectively, confidently, and within the compass of propriety.
Social media and the Global CT Institute
This policy applies to posts made by Staff and Students of the Global CT Institute on all social media platforms, whether those platforms are open to the public (such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter), The term 'post' refers to any action taken on social media, whether sharing original content, making a comment on content someone else has shared (including 'liking' Facebook posts and Tweets), or re-sharing content to one's own connections.
GCTI websites do not fall within the scope of this document. The reason for this is, broadly speaking, that web content is static: the creator of the website adds content that can be viewed by others, but not significantly interacted with. While websites provide a one-way method for the dissemination of information, social media platforms are by nature vehicles for conversations about any content shared, as anything posted to them can be commented on or re-shared to other
members' networks. The purpose of this document is to emphasize the highly public nature of social media channels and ensure Staff and Students use these powerful channels for public conversation in a responsible way that promotes the non-partisan views of the Global CT Institute.
As a member of staff or a student, you have a duty not to engage in conduct that is contrary to the law of the land, and a duty not to engage in activity that may bring the Global CT Institute into disrepute.
In the current worldwide political climate, it is more important than ever that staff and members are assuring that their political beliefs and their links with the Global CT Institute are not conflated, thus ensuring our non-partisan status remains. On social media, this is particularly prevalent and we advise that staff and students take every step necessary to make sure that political beliefs are not posted or shared, or linked to any post containing links to the Global CT Institute. Such an action brings the GCTI into disrepute by undermining the key fact that Global CT Institute is a non-political and non-partisan organization.
It is important to note that any interactions a member of staff or student has on social media may be visible to anyone in the world, for, while it is possible to restrict the audience of one's posts, it is not possible to control how someone will react to them. A private post can easily be shared and reposted publicly by anyone who has access to it. Even if an original post is deleted or edited, someone could already have shared it in its original form. As far as social media are concerned, everything one does or says is permanently recorded, and there is no such thing as a truly private post.
Therefore, acting as an ambassador for GCTI which to some extent we all are online is part of a duty, and expectations that apply to one's daily conduct apply equally within the digital sphere, as comments may be taken out of context and used as representative of the views of the Global CT Institute.
Here is a list of behaviors and topics to avoid when posting on social media. These apply to personal accounts, as well as to accounts that individual Staff or Students may manage on behalf of the Global CT Institute. They apply to any member of staff or student who has identified themselves as being linked to the Global CT Institute online, whether he is posting on a GCTI site or using other social media channels.
This list is not comprehensive but is intended to act as an introductory guide to topics or behaviors that are considered inappropriate for posting to any audience on social media.
When posting on social media platforms, you must not:
produce, link to, or refer to any content that is illegal, defamatory, or likely to offend others.
cause or contribute to any hostile or unproductive arguments, or exercise any private piques or quarrels (that is to say, the good-natured debate is fine, but one should be prepared to abandon the exchange if it ceases to be friendly).
claim to speak for the Global CT Institute on whose behalf he/she is not expressly authorized to speak and identify anyone else as a member of staff or a student without his/her explicit consent.
contain any personal information about any member of staff or student without his/her explicit consent, such as an address, telephone number, or anything else covered by the relevant Data Protection Act.
criticize the Global CT Institute.
A good guide to whether content will be enjoyed by one's audience is the acronym RICE: content should be relevant, interesting, concise, and entertaining.
Interesting: posts should include content others would want to read. That is to say, one should avoid posting for no reason, or sharing content that is inaccessible or difficult to digest.
Concise: social media are frequently consumed by busy people who are on the move, so posts should be to the point. If linking to an external site, provide a brief summary of the contents of that site, to enable viewers to decide whether they want to visit the page in question or not.
When sharing news or engaging in conversation, keep to the point. Brevity is one of the fundamental principles of all social media platforms: Twitter limits all messages to 140 characters, and Facebook only shows the first few lines of a post by default (these can be expanded, but a casual viewer may not be engaged enough to do so).
Entertaining: social media are, by definition, intended to be sociable. This means that content shared and topics discussed should engage (and in some cases amuse) the reader. Lengthy diatribes about a niche topic are unlikely to fall into this category; although there is nothing wrong with discussing these topics, it is better to do so conforming to the principles above, and provide links to external content for anyone who wishes to read in greater detail.
Global CT Institute Public Affairs Policy
This Public Affairs Policy applies to the public affairs activities in relation to Staff and Students of the Global CT Institute (GCTI). This Public Affairs Policy applies equally, including to all students, whether fee-paying or not, and all in-house teams. It is a condition for everyone to accept and agree to abide by this Public Affairs Policy and that staff and students will be jointly and severally liable for their actions in relation to the Public Affairs Policy. All Staff and Students are required to endorse the Public Affairs Policy and to adopt and observe the principles and duties set out in it.
The Public Affairs Policy applies the principles that all Staff and Students should be open and transparent in their dealings with parliamentarians or representatives of institutions of government; and that there should be no financial relationship between them.
“Public affairs” means activities that are carried out in the course of a business for the purpose of (a) influencing government, (b) or advising others how to influence government, other than as part of a specific project for which the GCTI is being contracted. Activities are to be taken as having the purpose specified if a reasonable person would assume, having regard to all the circumstances, that the activities were intended to have the effect described.
The full definition can be viewed here: “Government” includes, any government or governmental organization:
(a) the central government, devolved government, and local government;
(b) members and staff of any government or governmental organization;
(c) Ministers and officials; and (d) public authorities
1. In pursuance of the principles in the Public Affairs Policy, Staff and Students are required to adhere to this Public Affairs Policy in its entirety in order to ensure that the reputation of the Global CT Institute remains consistent
2. Staff must act with honesty towards students (or, if not applicable, their employer and fellow staff)
3. Staff and Students must use reasonable endeavors to satisfy themselves of the truth and accuracy of all statements made or information provided to institutions of government, whether directly or on behalf of GCTI, as is applicable.
4. Staff must advise their students (or, if not applicable, their internal teams and employer) where their activities to deliberately and intentionally interact with the institutions of government may be illegal, unethical, or contrary to professional practice, and to refuse to act in pursuance of any such activity.
5. Staff and/or Students must not make misleading, exaggerated, or extravagant claims about, or otherwise misrepresent, the nature or extent of their access to institutions of government or to political parties, or persons in those institutions.
6. Make any award or payment in money or in kind (including equity) to any Government Official either elected or employed or to connected persons or persons acting on their account directly or through third parties.
7. Staff and Students must keep strictly separate from their duties and activities as Staff or Students any personal activity or involvement on behalf of a political party, including as an office holder or candidate for office, and must notify the GCTI of any relevant instance.
8. Staff and Students must always abide by the internal rules on the declaration and handling of interests laid down by any public body on which they serve.
9. Staff and Students must conduct themselves in accordance with the rules of any institution of government while within their precincts, and otherwise.
10. Staff and Students must abide by the rules and conventions for the obtaining, distribution, and release of documents published by institutions of government.
11. Staff and Students must not exploit public servants or abuse the facilities of institutions of central, regional, or local government.
Public Affairs Complaints, Determination, and Disciplinary Rules and Procedures
The principal objective of this Public Affairs Policy is to promote high standards among Staff and Students.
The Public Affairs Complaints, Determination, and Disciplinary Rules and Procedures provide a mechanism for the Global CT Institute to investigate complaints against Staff and/or Students and to take appropriate disciplinary action in the event that the Public Affairs Policy has been breached. Any complaint must refer to a specific breach of the Public Affairs Policy by a member of staff or student within five years before the date on which the complaint was lodged.
“The Complainant” means the person making a complaint to the Global CT Institute Board that a Staff member or Student has breached a provision of this Public Affairs Policy.
“Expert Adviser” means the person appointed from time to time by the Global CT Institute Board to advise the Independent Adjudicator, as the case may be. The Expert Adviser will not usually be a member of the Global CT Institute Board but shall, in any case, have an understanding of the industry. The Expert Adviser’s role shall be limited to giving advice on accepted norms of behavior within the industry.
“Finding” means the Global CT Institute Board's response to the Independent Adjudicator’s report on a complaint where the complaint is obvious and admitted, and the Global CT Institute Board agrees to Remedial Action with the complainant.
1. Any complaint must be made in accordance with the Rules.
2. Anyone may make a complaint that the Public Affairs Policy has been breached and the Global CT Institute Board reserves the right to do so if it becomes aware of behavior that may be a breach of the Public Affairs Policy.
3. Complaints may not be initiated while a remedy is being sought through civil or criminal legal action. Legal action initiated by either party after the complaints procedure has started will result in the complaint being suspended until the outcome of the legal action is known.
4 On receipt of a complaint, the GCTI Board shall, unless the Complainant is the Global CT Institute itself, provide a copy of the Rules to the Complainant, seek their agreement to abide by the Procedure, and, if necessary, seek the information listed in paragraph 5 below if not clear. The Global CT Institute Board shall advise the Complainant that the complaint when complete and their agreement to abide by The Rules has been received, shall be passed to the Respondent.
4.1 Once a determination has been made or once a complaint has lapsed, the same (or substantially the same) complaint will not be accepted for a second time.
5. Before the complaint is deemed to have been received and will be passed to the Global CT Institute Board, the Complainant must:
a) Specify which clause(s) of the Policy the Complainant considers to have been breached.
b) Provide evidence in support of the complaint of the breach of the Public Affairs Policy by a member of staff or student within the previous five years.
c) Agree to the complaint being progressed in accordance with the Rules.
d) Agree to respect the confidentiality of the procedure (although the Global CT Institute Board may, if asked, confirm that either a complaint has been received or that one is being considered.
5.1 Once the Complainant has met the requirements in Rules 4 above, and the complaint is deemed received, the GCTI Board shall immediately send details of the complaint to the Respondent and the Respondent may make a response for submission to the Independent Adjudicator.
5.2 The Respondent shall have five working days within which to make such a response. The GCTI Board may - at their discretion - extend such period for a further five days.
5.3 Both parties’ submissions will be copied to the other party.
6. The Respondent is, by virtue of its position within the GCTI, bound by the Rules in force at the time the complaint is made.
7. If within six weeks after a complaint is made, a Complainant has without due cause not provided sufficient information (as determined by the Secretary) for the complaint to be deemed received, the complaint will be deemed to have lapsed.
8. Once a complaint has been deemed to have been received, the Global CT Institute shall immediately place the complaint before the Global CT Institute Board to decide whether there is a prima facie breach of the Public Affairs Policy and thus a case to be heard. In forming their decision, the Global CT Institute Board is either a member of staff or a student shall pay no regard to the fact that the Complainant is the Global CT Institute itself if that be the case.
9. The Global CT Institute Board will consider the written submissions from both the Complainant and the Respondent but will not hold a hearing of the parties.
10. Within five working days, the Global CT Institute Board will report that:
a) there is no case to be heard and the complaint be dismissed; or
b) the complaint is obvious and admitted, and the Global CT Institute may agree to Remedial Action with the relevant parties. If the Global CT Institute Board accepts the report and agrees to Remedial Action with the relevant parties, it will issue a Finding based on the report of the Global CT Institute Board. The parties will be given the opportunity to comment on the Finding within five working days. At the Global CT Institute Boards' discretion, the Finding may be published on the website for a time period to be determined by the Executive Committee.
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