Working with children and adults at risk
E-safety is the ways in which we can limit the risks to children and adults and to our staff, volunteers and members when communicating via the internet, digital and mobile devices and using social media. Social media includes blogs, Wikis, online communities, and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
Our commitment to online and e-safety
The Labour Party acknowledges the positive impact that involvement with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can have on the lives of our members and their ability to learn about and engage in political debate. Indeed, Labour uses the online environment to encourage people in our campaigning work and events.
At the same time, we recognise the dangers and potential risks that online activity can pose to both children and adults at risk. There is a wide range of ways to communicate and this is a rapidly changing environment as new technologies, applications and social media sites emerge. No code of conduct for e-safety can cover all of these areas separately.
To safeguard children, adults at risk and themselves re using all these forms of media, devices, apps and social networking sites, staff, volunteers, members and elected representatives must adhere to certain standards regarding the four below criteria.
- When communicating online observe the same rules of behaviour as if speaking in person. Be professional, polite and respectful
- Do not swear or say anything (using the written word, images or icons) that could be regarded as sexual innuendo, bullying, intimidation or discrimination
- Ask yourself whether the content of the message could be misunderstood or misinterpreted by someone else
- Always ensure the content of any online communication has a clear ‘work’ purpose
- Don’t use any ‘text speak’ abbreviations, symbols or emojis even if you ordinarily use these in your personal life
- Never disclose non-public and confidential information about the Labour Party, its staff/volunteers or the children or adults with whom we are working
- Contact with young members online must be a recognised element of your work and done strictly for Labour Party business purposes only
- Do not send any illegal or inappropriate content (written, images or icons) including ‘sexting’ via mobile phones or sharing of abusive images of children
Openness and scrutiny
- Do not use private messaging facilities on social networks or apps. If communication needs to be private then do this by email exchange or phone and note the conversation afterwards
- Ensure there is always a record of these conversations that would be open to others to check if necessary
- It should always be clear who a communication is from when the Labour Party is communicating with a child or an adult at risk
- Never use anonymous apps (where the sender can remain anonymous)
- Only use social media and apps where there is a permanent record of what’s been said and sent thereby being open to scrutiny e.g. the use of Snapchat is inappropriate
Use of equipment
Labour Party equipment (including computers, laptops, mobile phones, notebooks, etc.) must not be used to view, download, create or share illegal content including abusive images of children.
The use of text messaging to communicate with individual children increases the vulnerability of both the child and the member or volunteer. There may be circumstances in which it is justified, subject to appropriate safeguarding considerations. In these circumstances:
- Members and volunteers should only send individual text messages to a child in response to a specific question or immediate request. Members and volunteers should not engage in general conversation with children via text message
- All messages should be stored and backed up regularly on a computer – phone messages should not be edited or deleted
- Children’s mobile phone numbers should be kept secure via passcode locks on phones and computers. The mobile phone numbers should not be shared with anyone else unless consent has been given
- The content should relate solely to Labour Party activity
- All bulk text messages sent to children and young people should also be sent through approved channels and recorded for external moderation if required