This Operational Procedure is issued under the authority of the Commissioner and should be read together with the ACNC Policy Framework which sets out the scope, context and definitions common to our Policy Documents.

Policy Statement

This Operational Procedure sets out principles to guide staff use of social media at the ACNC.

It includes guidance on how to manage challenging behaviour online and when to escalate an issue. It also includes the steps that the ACNC will take if a staff member behaves inappropriately online. It includes guidance on how to manage challenging behaviour online and when to escalate an issue. It also includes the steps that the ACNC will take if a staff member behaves inappropriately online.

Principles

  • Principle 1: ACNC staff to be professional at all times
  • Principle 2: ACNC staff must be open and accountable
  • Principle 3: ACNC staff to only disclose appropriate information
  • Principle 4: ACNC staff should protect themselves
  • Principle 5: Responding to contentious social media commentary on ACNC accounts
  • Principle 6: Inappropriate behaviour by staff online

Principle 1: ACNC staff to be professional at all times

  1. When interacting online ACNC staff should be aware that they are bound by the following, in addition to this operational procedure Our staff should familiarise themselves with these policies and guidelines and be aware that even if posting in a personal capacity with enabled privacy settings, comments made online can circulate widely and be difficult to delete.
  2. Staff should be respectful and courteous about the opinions of others online. Never post anything obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, discriminatory or hateful about another person or entity.
  3. Staff should take reasonable steps to ensure that any content they publish is accurate. Provide direct links to relevant information online where it exists.

Principle 2: ACNC staff must be open and accountable

  1. If speaking or posting in a personal capacity about work-related matters (for example charities, the ACNC, or not-for-profit regulation), staff must make it clear that they are posting as an individual and they are not representing the ACNC.
  2. Staff must not include ACNC or Australian Government logos in postings without specific authorisation.
  3. Staff must not speak on behalf of the ACNC unless they are specifically authorised to do so. Only staff managing the ACNC social media channels are authorised to post and respond on social media on behalf of the ACNC.

Principle 3: ACNC staff to only disclose appropriate information

  1. Staff must only share publicly available information and, if necessary, seek clarification about what information is in the public domain. The ACNC Protected Information Procedure applies to all ACNC staff and provides guidance to staff when handling protected ACNC information and when they can and cannot disclose information.

Principle 4: ACNC staff should protect themselves

  1. Staff should be aware of potential conflicts of interest or perceived conflicts of interest. They must consider whether connecting with a stakeholder online could give rise to such a conflict. This is particularly important if their role involves decision-making.
  2. Staff should redirect work-related matters from personal social media accounts to official channels, such as an ACNC email account and use their discretion when considering invitations to connect via social media.
  3. If staff identify a troll or problematic poster who is contacting them through their personal accounts about ACNC matters, they should notify the manager of the Education and Public Affairs team

Principle 5: Responding to contentious social media commentary on ACNC accounts

  1. This relates to staff managing ACNC social media accounts. The ACNC is committed to open and transparent engagement online and encourages authorised staff to participate. However, this engagement can create situations of potential risk to the ACNC’s reputation if false or misleading information is shared in the comments or in conversations on the ACNC social media channels.
  2. Staff should monitor the discussion on ACNC social media accounts.
  3. Where staff identify a poster that is stifling debate with too many posts, spreading misleading information or saying things that are false, they should consider the seriousness of the issue, and choose one of the options below:
    1. Where the post is misleading, or spreads false information the post should be hidden.
    2. Where a poster continues to be vexatious, staff should consider warning the poster that if the behaviour continues they will be blocked.
  4. If a poster has been warned, and the behaviour continues, staff should block the poster. Please note that this option should only be used when it is necessary. If staff are considering blocking a user, they should seek approval from the manager of Education and Public Affairs

Principle 6: Inappropriate behaviour by staff online

  1. If inappropriate behaviour by staff online comes to the attention of the ACNC, the incident will be reviewed by the staff member's manager in conjunction with the human resources manager. The human resources manager will advise the director of Education and Public Affairs if an incident requires an ACNC response.
  2. The incident will be managed in line with ATO Procedures for determining whether an employee has breached the APS Code of Conduct and imposition of sanction available on myATO. If an employee breaches the APS Code of Conduct, in serious cases it may lead to termination.

Version Control

Version Date of effect Brief summary of changes
Version 1 - Initial procedure 03/06/2013 Initial OP endorsed by Assistant Commissioner Charity Services on 03/06/2013
Version 2 - Amendment 23/07/2019

Update policy to reflect current practice.
Removed obsolete references

Version 3 - Amendment 03/08/2021 Update to policy to reflect current practice
Removed obsolete references