Public sector employees are accountable for their use and management of all public resources including the use of communication devices such as telephones, facsimile, the Internet or electronic mail (Email).
The responsibilities to be efficient, economical and ethical are well established in the codes of conduct used throughout the New South Wales public sector. As an employer, the Government also recognises changes in work practices require people to make adjustments as they balance work, family and community responsibilities.
Rapid advancements in information technology have created a need to issue a policy, including guidelines and protocols, that govern the use of communication devices. The attached policy and guidelines on Employer Communication Devices and its related Protocol for Acceptable Use of the Internet and Electronic Mail Use were developed in cooperation with a number of government agencies and the public sector unions. They respond to the changing work practices of modern public administration and have benefited from the excellent work already undertaken by a number of agencies which have already developed in-house policies.
Communication devices in public sector agencies are provided for business use. The Government accepts that within a responsive and flexible NSW public sector there is a need for limited personal use of communication devices. It also recognises that policies may need to be adapted to an agency's own circumstances. The attached documents provide guidelines to assist agencies develop policies to meet their own requirements.
Some isolated cases involving misuse of communication devices by public sector officials have reflected badly on the good reputation of the NSW public sector. Such incidents could erode the advances which have been made in developing workplaces free of harassment and discrimination. I urge all Chief Executives to provide a lead in ensuring that clear guidelines are implemented and that steps are taken to ensure all employees clearly understand their responsibilities.