Context and overview

Key details

Policy prepared by: Marcia Rowlinson
Approved by board on: 28 September 2017
Policy became operational on: 28 September 2017
Policy reviewed : January 2022
Next review date: September 2024 amended Sep 23Introduction


ABC to read makes internet access available to its employees where relevant and useful for their jobs.

This Internet Use policy describes the rules governing internet use at the charity. It also sets out how staff members are expected to behave when using the internet.

This policy should be read alongside other key policies. The charity’s data protection policies are particularly relevant to staff who use the internet.

Why this policy exists

The internet is a powerful tool that can bring significant benefits to ABC to read.

However, it’s important every person at the charity who uses the internet understands how to use it responsibly, safely, and legally.

This internet use policy:

  • Reduces the online security risks faced by ABC to read.
  • Let’s staff know what they can and can’t do online.
  • Ensures employees do not view inappropriate content at work.
  • Helps the charity satisfy its legal obligations regarding internet use

Policy scope

This policy applies to all staff, contractors, and volunteers at ABC to read who use the charity’s internet during work time.

It applies no matter whether that internet access takes place on charity premises, while travelling for business or while working from home.

It applies to use of the internet on any device that is owned by the charity, or that is connected to any company networks or systems.

For example, it applies both to an employee using the internet at their desk, and to employees who connect their own tablets or smart phones to the charity’s wireless network.

General internet guidelines

Internet use is encouraged

ABC to read recognises that the internet is an integral part of doing business. It therefore encourages its employees to use the internet whenever such use supports the charity’s goals and objectives.

For instance, staff members may use the internet to:

  • Purchase office supplies
  • Book travel and venues
  • Perform market research.
  • Identify potential schools or partners

There are many valid reasons for using the internet at work and the charity certainly allows its employees to explore and take advantage of the internet’s many advantages.

Personal internet use

The charity also recognises that the internet is embedded in many people’s daily lives. As such, it allows employees to use the internet for personal reasons, with the following stipulations:

  • Personal internet use should be of a reasonable level and restricted to non-work times, such as breaks and during lunch.
  • All rules described in this policy apply equally to personal internet use. For instance, inappropriate content is always inappropriate, no matter whether it is being accessed for business or personal reasons.
  • Personal internet use must not affect the internet service available to other people in the charity. For instance, downloading large files could slow access for other employees.

Authorised users

Only people who have been authorised to use the internet at ABC to read may do so.

Authorisation will be provided by an employee’s line manager. It is typically granted when a new employee joins the company and is assigned their login details for the company IT systems such as Salesforce.

Unauthorised use of the charity’s internet connection is prohibited.

Employees who use the internet without authorisation — or who provide access to unauthorised people — may have disciplinary action taken against them.

Key areas

Internet security

Used unwisely, the internet can be a source of security problems that can do significant damage to the charity’s data and reputation.

  • Users must not knowingly introduce any form of computer virus, Trojan, spyware, or other malware into the charity.
  • Employees must not gain access to websites or systems for which they do not have authorisation, either within the business or outside it.
  • Charity data should only be uploaded to and shared via approved services. Advice can be obtained on appropriate tools for sending and sharing large amounts of data.
  • Employees must not steal, use, or disclose someone else’s login or password without authorisation.

Staff members must always consider the security of the charity’s systems and data when using the internet. If required, help and guidance is available.

Inappropriate content and uses

There are many sources of inappropriate content and materials available online. It is important for employees to understand that viewing or distributing inappropriate content is not acceptable under any circumstances.

Users must not:

  • Take part in any activities on the internet that could bring the charity into disrepute.
  • Create or transmit material that might be defamatory or incur liability for the charity.
  • View, download, create or distribute any inappropriate content or material.
  • Inappropriate content includes pornography, racial or religious slurs, gender-specific comments, information encouraging criminal skills or terrorism, or materials relating to cults, gambling, and illegal drugs.
  • This definition of inappropriate content or material also covers any text, images or other media that could reasonably offend someone based on race, age, sex, religious or political beliefs, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law.
  • Use the internet for any illegal or criminal activities.
  • Send offensive or harassing material to others.
  • Broadcast unsolicited personal views on social, political, religious, or other non-business-related matters.
  • Send or post messages or material that could damage ABC to read’s image or reputation.


ABC to read respects and operates within copyright laws. Users may not use the internet to:

  • Publish or share any copyrighted software, media or materials owned by third parties, unless permitted by that third party.
  • Download illegal copies of music, films, games, or other software, whether via files sharing services or other technologies.

Employees must not use the charity’s equipment, software, or internet connection to perform any tasks which may involve breach of copyright law.

Policy enforcement

Monitoring internet use

Charity IT and internet resources — including computers, smart phones, and internet connections — are provided for legitimate business use.

The charity therefore reserves the right to monitor use of the internet, to examine systems and review the data stored in those systems.

Any such examinations or monitoring will only be carried out by authorised staff.

Additionally, all internet data written, sent, or received through the charity’s computer systems is part of official ABC to read records. The charity can be legally compelled to show that information to law enforcement agencies or other parties.

Users should always ensure that the charity information sent over or uploaded to the internet is accurate, appropriate, ethical, and legal.

Potential sanctions

Knowingly breaching this internet use policy is a serious matter. Users who do so will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Employees, contractors, and other users may also be held personally liable for violating this policy.

Where appropriate, the charity will involve the police or other law enforcement agencies in relation to breaches of this policy.

Appropriate conduct when using ABC to read’s social media channels 

Currently the CEO is responsible for setting up and managing ABC to read’s social media channels. Only those authorised to do so by the CEO will have access to these accounts. Although all members are encouraged to post, like and share to help grow an audience to help recruit volunteers and schools as well as provide information to volunteers.  Guidelines are as follows:

  • Staff should ensure they reflect ABC to read’s values in what they post.
  • All social media content must have a purpose and a benefit for ABC to read and accurately reflects ABC to read’s agreed position.
  • To bring value to our audience(s) answer their questions, help, and engage with them.
  • Take care with the presentation of content. Make sure that there are no typos, misspellings, or grammatical errors. Also check the quality of images.
  • Always pause and think before posting. That said, reply to comments in a timely manner, when a response is appropriate.
  • Staff shouldn’t post content about supporters or beneficiaries without their express permission. If staff are sharing information about supporters, beneficiaries or third-party organisations, this content should be clearly labelled so our audiences know it has not come directly from ABC to read.
  • If using interviews, videos or photos that clearly identify a child or young person, staff must ensure they have the consent of a parent or guardian before using them on social media.
  • Always check facts. Staff should not automatically assume that material is accurate and should take reasonable steps where necessary to seek verification, for example, by checking data/statistics and being wary of photo manipulation.
  • Be honest. Say what you know to be true or have a good source for. If you’ve made a mistake, don’t be afraid to admit it.
  • Staff should refrain from offering personal opinions via ABC to read’s social media accounts, either directly by commenting or indirectly by ‘liking’, ‘sharing’ or ‘retweeting’.
  • Staff should not encourage people to break the law to supply material for social media, such as using unauthorised video footage. All relevant rights for usage must be obtained before publishing material.
  • Staff should not set up other Facebook groups or pages, X accounts or any other social media channels on behalf of ABC to read. This could confuse messaging and brand awareness.

The CEO regularly monitors our social media spaces for mentions of ABC to read so we can catch any issues or problems early.  If any staff or trustee become aware of any comments online that they think have the potential to escalate into a crisis, whether on ABC to read’s social media channels or elsewhere, they should speak to the CEO immediately.