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1.1 Policy number: CO-O-065.0
1.2 Category: Organisational
1.3 Approval date: February 2016
1.4 Revision date: February 2019
1.5 Unit responsible: Communications and Media Unit
The RACGP is best represented by its people, and what RACGP representatives publish will reflect its reputation. RACGP representatives are encouraged to engage with Social Media to add value, provide worthwhile information and perspective.
This policy regulates how RACGP representatives communicate through social media channels and online platforms in connection with the RACGP, and provides disciplinary procedures should communications be inappropriate.
This policy is authorised by the CEO and endorsed by the RACGP Board.
The general practice leadership role played by the RACGP is reflected in its public brand as a credible and ethical professional organisation. This policy aims to ensure this public image is maintained across social media platforms.
RACGP representatives must be aware of the increasing convergence of private and professional involvement in social media. This is particularly relevant as the line between private and professional comments / posts is becoming increasingly blurred.
RACGP representatives must be aware of the possible workplace ramifications resulting from ordinarily private social media comments.
The RACGP is committed to ensuring its representatives participate in social media responsibly and respectfully, guided by the RACGP’s workplace values and behaviours.
This policy aims to:
3.2 Scope of this policy
This policy applies to all RACGP representatives in all circumstances involving their use of social media, whether or not in a workplace and whether or not during working hours, where the RACGP is or could possibly be associated or connected with that use.
For example, this policy will apply to any social media comment made about the RACGP, or any comment about its partners, service providers or funding bodies that may reflect upon the RACGP.
3.3 Matters out of scope of this policy
This policy does not apply to:
For the purposes of this policy:
RACGP representatives includes all:
Workplace includes all areas of RACGP work and training activities and refers to any of the RACGP premises or workplaces during working hours. Importantly, workplaces:
The following principles should be considered in all professional and private use of social media.
5.1 Authority to speak on behalf of the RACGP
RACGP Board members and RACGP Expert Committee Chairs have a standing authority to represent the RACGP in social media in the context of their respective roles.
Otherwise, only people expressly authorised by the RACGP Board or the CEO (or their appropriately authorised delegates) may represent the RACGP in social media.
Ordinarily, RACGP employees are not authorised to publish online content or comment on behalf of the RACGP. Care must be taken to ensure RACGP endorsement of unauthorised comments is not implied by the content or nature of the comment (see item 6.2 below).
5.2 Quality and content of social media statements
Statements by RACGP representatives must be factually accurate, and should also be ethically sound, morally appropriate and reflect RACGP policies, values and responsibilities.
Statements must not bring the RACGP into disrepute.
RACGP employees must comply with all copyright laws and fair use of copyright material and attribute work to the original author/source wherever possible
5.3 Social media in private and professional environments
RACGP representatives must ensure they do not mix their personal and professional lives in a manner impacting upon the RACGP or is likely to bring the RACGP into disrepute, or which undermines or affects RACGP employees’ effectiveness at work.
The RACGP and RACGP representatives must remain aware of the obligations of confidentiality imposed on them by third party or engagement agreements.
Comments made on social media must not disclose (directly or indirectly) information which:
If RACGP representatives require clarification about what information is or isn’t in the public domain they should confirm with management or refer to information published on the RACGP website.
5.5 Control and longevity
Social media posts rapidly leave the control of the poster. Even deleted tweets or posts may be retained, or may be forwarded or viewed by others.
RACGP representatives should note social media comments will remain in the public for a long time and may be used for unintended purposes with unintended consequences.
6.1 General expectations
In all social media comments concerning the RACGP, its brands, or its business, RACGP representatives must familiarise themselves with this policy and act in accordance with its letter and spirit.
6.2 Personal use of social media
RACGP representatives must understand the broad reach of social media, and the potential for social media to disseminate messages rapidly and uncontrollably.
RACGP representatives using social media outside the workplace should be aware this policy may still apply.
RACGP representatives must:
This disclaimer requirement does not derogate from any obligation RACGP representatives have under this policy, and does not apply to reposting of existing RACGP social media content.
6.3 Expectations of authorised RACGP representatives
This item 6.3 only applies to RACGP representatives with express or standing authority to comment or publish content on the RACGP’s behalf.
RACGP representatives must ensure they use their own username and password for access, and must keep these confidential and not transfer them to any other person, unless expressly authorised for business purposes.
RACGP representatives must comply with the RACGP’s Code of Conduct Policy and Equity and Diversity Policy and Values and Behaviours, and must attend of RACGP social media training prior to engaging in online conversations relevant to their delegated authority.
When publishing content on behalf of the RACGP, RACGP representatives must:
6.4 Prohibited use of social media
RACGP representatives must not:
6.5 Bullying and harassment
RACGP representatives must abide by RACGP’s Equity and Diversity Policy when engaging in social media. It is important to note in Victoria cyberbullying is against the law.
Brodie’s Law applies to all forms of serious bullying, including physical bullying, psychological bullying, verbal bullying and cyberbullying. Brodie’s Law makes serious bullying a criminal offence by extending the application of the stalking provisions in the Crimes Act 1958 to include behaviour involving serious bullying.
RACGP employees must:
Breaches of this policy and any associated procedures, or any deviation from the above expectations, may be met with disciplinary action under this or another relevant policy.
Consequences may include discipline action for unacceptable behaviour and/or underperformance in the workplace which could result in investigation, warning and/or termination. Any breach may also result in instigation of formal legal proceedings where there is a corresponding breach of law.
10.1 Access to published policy
This policy will be available via the RACGP intranet.
10.2 Promulgation of published policy
Relevant RACGP employees will be provided communications explaining the function and role of this policy.
10.3 Review of this policy
This policy will have a review cycle of three (3) years.
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