Oct 3 2013 by Rebecca Koncienzcy, Ormskirk Advertiser
FACEBOOK, Twitter, Hotmail, Amazon and Rightmove feature on a list of the most visited websites by council employees.
West Lancashire employees have been visiting the sites through the council’s computers and are allowed to do so during the working day.
The details of the top 50 web activities come at a sensitive time for the council after the Advertiser reported in May that two workers were suspended due to ‘misuse of work time’.
It is believed this involved misuse of the internet following a series of tweets from Skelmersdale North councillor Neil Furey.
He tweeted on Wednesday, May 1: “West Lancashire Borough Council begin investigation into hours of Internet 'misuse' by its own staff.
“Chiefs begin investigation into council staff spending hours at work surfing the net on council-owned computers.”
The council have refused to comment further on the suspensions or the outcomes, but did say how the internet is a major tool for the helping the council.
A council spokesperson said: “The council uses social media like Facebook and Twitter in communication and consultation with residents.
“Staff are permitted to use the internet for personal purposes in their own time, for example during lunch breaks.
“The council has a policy relating to appropriate use of the internet by staff and uses software that automatically blocks sites that are not appropriate.”
Knowsley ward councillor Rob Bailey believes that the high usage of social media is a natural progression for the council.
He said: “The use of such sites should be encouraged as it can provide a two-way feed for people to give instant feedback to the council and to be made aware of council issues.”
With regard to the recent suspensions Cllr Bailey said: “Without knowing the issues surrounding the investigations, I would say there are obviously limits, but it should be acceptable for people to view social networking sites before work and during their lunch.”