Approaches To Openness in UK Higher Education

I commented recently on Andy Powell’s decision to live blog at the conferences he attends, so that his thoughts, opinions and comments can be shared with a wider community and his views discussed openly. This approach to openness reflects a culture which we can see increasingly in the high education sector, which is now will to make its research publications available though open access repositories, its data available under Science Commons licences and documentation and other resources available under Creative Commons licences.

Such approaches to openness in general aren’t being taken on ideological stances, but rather a belief that the benefits of education and research are best served by providing open access to the resources for use by others.

Approaches To Openness in the Wider Public Sector

It seems, though, that such approaches are not necessarily being taken in other public sector organisations, This struck be recently following one of posts on “Government Web Sites MUST Be WCAG AA Compliant!“.  In response to my concerns Adam Bailin of the Central Office of Information suggested that I give my comments on the Digital People – Accessibility forum.

In order to contribute to this forum it seems you need to fill in a cumbersome registration form, with a string of attached conditions. And, much worse, you even need to register in order to read the discussions on the forum. It’s therefore hardly surprising that there is hardly any discussion taking place on the forum.

Now the terms and conditions are much worse than I realised when I signed up. As can be seen to read the terms and conditions you need to scroll horizontally and vertically, although no scroll bars are displayed (so much for accessibility!). Of course when I registered I never read the terms and conditions, but I though it would be interesting to see the terms and conditions which the UK Government requires people to agree to in order to discuss UK government policies.  So the full details follow – but please mote they are very long.

Feel free to give your thoughts on these terms and conditions. One particular condition which struck me was:

You acknowledge that www.communities.idea.gov.uk reserves the right to charge for the Community of Practice and to change its fees from time to time in its discretion.

Now why do I feel that such terms and conditions provided on services such as Facebook would be used to condemn the service, but the Government seems to be able to get away with it?

Note that as the terms and conditions are so long, I have included a More tag in this blog post, so that you will have to follow the link in order to view the full list of terms and conditions.

Terms and Conditions for Communities of Practice Government Web Site

USER POLICY

Please take a moment to read the following User Policy. If there is anything you do not understand, then please Contact Us.

Communities of Practice is a website provided primarily for use by the Public Sector in the United Kingdom (“Public Sector”) by the Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government (“we” “us” “our” or “IDeA”) on behalf of the Public Sector.

1. Acceptance of this User Policy

Your access and use of this website located at (www.communities.idea.gov.uk), including any and all content, information and materials provided within it (the “Content”) (together referred to as “Communities of Practice”), is subject to your acceptance of, and compliance with, the provisions of this User Policy, which incorporates our Discussion Forum Policy, our Privacy Policy (both of which you should also read), and any other legal notices and/or instructions which may appear on Communities of Practice and/or within any Content from time to time (together this “User Policy”).

IMPORTANT: By accessing and using Communities of Practice you will automatically be taken to have read, understood and accepted this User Policy. If there is anything you do not understand please Contact Us. If you do not agree to be bound by this User Policy please cease to access and use Communities of Practice and any of the Content found within it (including any Content you have copied or downloaded).

2.Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice provides you with a rich collection of on-line facilities, rights and obligations.

* a person who has registered with us (see the section below on Registration and use of your data) (“Subscriber”); (together “Registered Users”).

Communities of Practice has primary components:

* Content, including documented processes compiled and contributed by Subscribers;

* Discussion Forums;

* Personal blogs

* Designated private areas for Subscribers containing Content specific to them, and which can only be accessed by its Subscribers (“Subscriber Areas”);

* Network of Practitioners which allows Subscribers to search for peers, advisers and other practitioners in the Community of Practice.

3.Your obligations

IMPORTANT: You may only use Communities of Practice (including any Content you access, copy or download) for either the lawful purpose(s) of the Public Sector or your own personal non-commercial use, and in any event in accordance with this User Policy.

You agree:

* not to use Communities of Practice (including any Content) for your personal commercial gain

* not to change any of the text or images contained in Communities of Practice or merge it with any other text or images, or forge headers or otherwise manipulate identifiers in order to disguise the origin of any of the Content;

* to comply with any legal notices contained in Communities of Practice (including in any Content); and

* to respect and comply with the legal rights of others, in particular our rights, and the rights of our licensors (please see the paragraph on Ownership below) and any rights of individuals under the Data Protection Act 1998, the law of confidentiality, and the right of privacy under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

In addition you agree NOT to upload, post, email or otherwise send (together “upload”) or knowingly receive any Content which:

* is unlawful, illegal, fraudulent, offensive, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, indecent, obscene, defamatory, invasive of another’s privacy, or discriminatory whether racially, ethnically, sexually, religiously or otherwise, or which may incite or instruct any person or organisation to undertake such activities;

* contains any viruses, trojan horses, worms, time bombs or any similar component likely to cause harm;

* constitutes an advertisement, encouragement, or specific recommendation to trade in any specific share or security;

* contains forged headers or manipulated identifiers in order to disguise the origins of any Content;

* infringes our legal rights or any other User, or any other person or organisation; or

* passes you off as, or in which you impersonate any person or entity, including any Public Sector Organisation or IDeA official, or otherwise misrepresents yourself or your connection with a third party in any way.

4.Uploading Content

In addition to Your obligations you shall only upload Content:

* in accordance with any instructions we may issue from time to time;

* which does not contain any information which may constitute investment advice under the Financial Services Act 1986. Under this Act it is a criminal offence to pass on any opinion (whether your own or another person’s) on investment merit and potential, unless you are subject to regulatory rules of membership of a self-regulating organisation;

* in accordance with any legal rights of other persons, including any rights under the Data Protection Act 1998, the law of confidentiality, the right of privacy under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998, or any other rights or which you are otherwise not entitled to so upload; and

* where it is into a Subscriber Area in accordance with our requirements set out below.

You warrant and undertake that any Content you upload is accurate and up to date, and of a quality reasonably appropriate to the nature of the Content.

You warrant and undertake to ensure that no copyright or other IP Rights (as defined in the section on Ownership and Licence below) will be infringed by either:

* your uploading of any Content; or

* such Content being accessed, downloaded and used (in accordance with this User Policy) by either Users or, where you upload Content only to a Subscriber Area, by the relevant Subscribers.

IMPORTANT: Unless you include a clear legal notice, prominently positioned on the first page of any Content you upload, informing Users of any restrictions in their use of such Content, it will be deemed that Users are free to access, download and use such Content as they see fit, in accordance with this User Policy.

IMPORTANT: We reserve the right to either block access to, delete or amend any Content which you upload, as and when we deem appropriate (in our absolute discretion) from time to time, without notice to you.

If we receive any complaint in relation to any Content you have uploaded, in addition to our right to block access to, delete or amend such Content, we shall also be entitled to terminate your access to Communities of Practice.

Where we consider it appropriate, we will endeavour to contact you to inform you that a complaint has been received in relation to Content which you have uploaded, the action that we have taken, our evaluation of the allegation, and what steps (if any) we require you to take.

5.Availability of Communities of Practice

We shall use reasonable endeavours to ensure that Communities of Practice is available between the hours of 09.00 and 17.30 Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. While Communities of Practice may be available outside of those times, we make no representation or guarantees as to such availability.

We reserve the right to withdraw access to all or any part of Communities of Practice for periods of time in order to modify Content, scheduled or emergency maintenance and other purposes without notice to you.

Since you will receive Communities of Practice via third party telecommunications networks, you acknowledge that we cannot guarantee that the availability of Communities of Practice will be uninterrupted or error free. Similarly we cannot guarantee that the transmission of any information over such telecommunications networks will be secure nor that you will be able to access Communities of Practice at all times.

IMPORTANT: Communities of Practice is therefore provided to you on an “as is” and “as and when available” basis, and your use of Communities of Practice is at your own risk.

6.Registration and use of your data

(Please see paragraph 3 Discussion Forum Policy in relation to the registration and use of Forum User’s data.)

In order to register as a subscriber you must have a valid email address.

(“Registered Users”)

In any event we may from time to time register persons as Registered Users as we see fit.

When registering as a Registered User, you agree to provide accurate, up-to-date and complete information about yourself, as prompted by Communities of Practice (“Your Data”) and to promptly update Your Data as and when any changes to Your Data occur.

In return we agree to use Your Data only in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

When you successfully register as a Registered User you will create a Username and Password. You are responsible for keeping your Password confidential and shall take all necessary steps to ensure that it is kept secure and not disclosed to any other person.

IMPORTANT: If you know or suspect that your Password has been disclosed to any other person you must Contact Us immediately and change your password. Please note that you are responsible for all activities that occur under your Password.

Where you are a Subscriber and you cease to work (as an employee or consultant) within the organisation, you must immediately notify us (Contact Us) of this fact (so that we can update your registration and rights of access as a current Subscriber).

7.Fees.

You acknowledge that www.communities.idea.gov.uk reserves the right to charge for the Community of Practice and to change its fees from time to time in its discretion. If www.communties.idea.gov.uk terminates your Subscription because you have breached the User Policy, Discussion Forum Policy or Privacy Policy you shall not be entitled to the refund of any unused portion of subscription fees.

8.People Finder

People Finder is a search facility accessible by all Subscribers to search for peers, advisers and other practitioners in the Community of Practice, based upon enhanced search criteria (the “Search Facility”).

This Search Facility searches through the fields contained in Subscribers’, Records in the “My Profile” section of Communities of Practice, to produce one or more links to profiles of relevant Subscribers

For further information as to how personal information is used in relation to the Search Facility, and how you may opt-out of your personal information being included in it, please see paragraph 5 of the Privacy Policy.

Your use of the Search Facility shall at all times comply with this User Policy, and in particular is subject to strict adherence with the following rules:

* Acceptable Uses – you will use the personal information and contact details obtained from the Search Facility (“Search Facility Data”) only for the purpose of the provision of a relevant public sector services

* Sharing information – you will not sell, pass or otherwise make available any Search Facility Data to a third party. You may share Search Facility Data with your colleagues in your Organisation only where there is a reasonable need to do so (and for the purpose of the provision of a relevant public sector services), and provided that you ensure such colleagues are aware of these rules.

* Communications – any communication you make with individuals found via the Search Facility (“Relevant Individuals”) must clearly identify your name, your job title, your Organisation and your contact details. Communications must be kept to a minimum and must immediately cease if the individual(s) indicate they do not wish to be contacted;

* Unlawfulness – your communications with Relevant Individuals must not be unlawful, illegal, fraudulent, offensive, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, indecent, obscene, defamatory, invasive of another’s privacy, or discriminatory whether racially, ethnically, sexually, religiously or otherwise, or which may incite or instruct any person or organisation to undertake such activities.

* Use of Language – your communications with Relevant Individuals must not contain language that is in any way unlawful, threatening or offensive. This includes the use of swear-words, bad language and offensive nicknames.

* Breach of Confidence – your communications with, and your use of any communications received from, Relevant Individuals, must not in any way breach the confidence of any person.

* Impersonation – you must not impersonate any person or identity, falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or organisation or disguise the origin of any content of such communication with a Relevant Individual.

* Viruses – you must not send any communications to a Relevant Individual that might contain computer viruses or any other computer code, or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software, hardware, or telecommunications equipment.

* Illegal and Harmful Activities – you must not send any communications to a Relevant Individual relating to (or including links to) pirated software (including computer games), counterfeit goods or any other material which is, or might reasonably considered to be, illegal or otherwise harmful.

* Pornography – you must not send any communications to a Relevant Individual relating to (or including links to) any kind of pornography.

* Personal Data – you must not send any communications to a Relevant Individual containing another person’s personal information (including their name, home address, job title, telephone number or other contact details) without first obtaining the relevant person’s consent.

* Advertising – you must not send any communications to a Relevant Individual containing or including links to any overt advertisements or promotional materials, or otherwise use the Search Facility or such communications to overtly generate personal business.

9.Freedom of Information

Subscribers are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the “FOIA”).

Where we receive a request under the FOIA which includes any information that belongs to, or is confidential to, a Subscriber, as we deem appropriate in accordance with the FOIA, we will refer such request is to the Subscriber.

10. Forums

You agree to only access and use Communities of Practice’s Discussion Forums in accordance with the Discussion Forum Policy.

11.Ownership and Licence

You acknowledge that all rights in copyright, patents, design rights, trade marks and other intellectual property rights (whether registered, capable of registration or otherwise) throughout the world, for the full duration of such rights (“IP Rights”) in Communities of Practice (including in the Content) are owned by us.

Except for your use of the Content in accordance with this User Policy, you are granted no IP Rights in respect of Communities of Practice.

You may print, copy or download the Content provided always that:

* Communities of Practice and/or any Subscriber or third party responsible for creating the Content, is the acknowledged source;

* all titles credits and URLs are included; and

* you comply with any legal notice contained in the Content.

This permission is revocable by us at any time.

All trade marks, logos, titles, brand and product names (“our Trade Marks”) which are featured in Communities of Practice are owned by us or our licensors (including Subscribing Authorities, other Local Authorities and the Service Provider.

You may only use or refer to our Trade Marks which are included in Content downloaded, copied or printed by you in accordance with this User Policy. Otherwise you must not offer or distribute any products or services under or by reference to our Trade Marks, or otherwise reproduce any of our Trade Marks without our express written consent.

In relation to any Content which you upload, you grant to us a non-exclusive royalty free licence (which includes the right to grant sub-licences) to include such Content on Communities of Practice so that it can be made available by us as part of Communities of Practice and be viewed and downloaded by Users and used and exploited as they see fit, subject to them respecting any reasonable legal notice which you may place on such Content.

12.Links

Communities of Practice contains links to websites which are not under our control. These links are provided for your convenience only. We are not responsible for the availability or content of such other websites, nor for any products or services available from them. Any such link should not be seen as an endorsement of such websites, or any products or services contained on them.

You should be aware that your use of such other websites may be subject to additional terms and conditions imposed by the owners of those websites. Your dealings with such third parties are between you and the third party, and we accept no liability as a result of you accessing such websites or entering into contractual arrangements with the operator in question.

13.Modifications to this User Policy

This User Policy (including the Privacy Policy and Discussion Forum Policy) may be amended from time to time, and we therefore suggest that you review it periodically.

14.Disclaimers

We do not limit our liability if you die or are injured as a result of our negligence or you suffer loss as a consequence of any fraud by us, and nothing in this User Policy should be read as making any such limitations.

You should note that since Content is provided not only by us but also by Subscribers we cannot and do not undertake to monitor every item of Content uploaded onto Communities of Practice and as a result:

* we are unable to guarantee that Communities of Practice is virus and/or error free. You should always check Content before downloading. Any Content is downloaded by you at your own risk, and on the basis that you will be solely responsible for any damage to your computer system or loss of data that result from the download of such Content; and

* we make no representations, warranties or endorsements about the information included in Communities of Practice or its accuracy (including in relation to any opinions or advice given, or any links to other websites). Anything on Communities of Practice is for information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice, legal or professional advice and should not be relied on without taking independent advice. Nor can we guarantee the prompt editing or removal of any inappropriate or inaccurate Content.

IMPORTANT: Please note that you are solely responsible for any decisions you take based on the information contained in the Content.

On the basis that you are accessing Communities of Practice for business and commercial purposes, you agree that, unless we specifically state otherwise, we provide Communities of Practice to you without any conditions, warranties, or guarantees, whether express or implied, including but not limited to any implied warranties or conditions as to the satisfactory quality or fitness for a particular purpose, which are expressly excluded to the extent permitted by law.

15.Our liability

We shall not be liable to you in contract, drugstore online tort (including negligence) or otherwise for:

* any damage or loss arising from the consequences of viruses received by you via Communities of Practice or of our failure to provide Communities of Practice in accordance with this User Policy;

* any economic losses (including loss of profits) any indirect or consequential losses, loss of data, goodwill or reputation, or for any wasted expense including but not limited to losses caused by viruses,

and any other liability we may have to you whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage suffered by you in relation to Communities of Practice

In any event we will not be liable for any failure to perform our obligations if we are prevented from doing so by an event beyond our reasonable control including (but not limited to):

* strikes or labour disputes;

* acts of God, war, riot, civil action, malicious acts or damage, fire, flood or storm;

* compliance with any law, governmental or regulatory order, rule, regulation or direction, any act or omission of any government or other competent authority; and/or

* accident, equipment or services failure, including the unavailability of third party telecommunications services, lines or other equipment.

IMPORTANT: You acknowledge that, on the basis that you are accessing Communities of Practice that the disclaimers and limits on our liability contained in this User Policy (in particular Paragraphs 13 Disclaimers and 15 Our Liability) are fair and reasonable.

16.Your liability

We reserve the right to suspend or terminate your registration as a Registered User and/or your access to all or any parts of Communities of Practice without notice to you, if we reasonably believe you to have breached this User Policy.

You agree to indemnify us from and against any liability, loss, damage or expense caused to any person (including us or any other User), to the extent such losses, damages and expense is caused by:

* your use of Communities of Practice, or to whom you have disclosed your Password (whether inadvertently or not); and/or

* any Content which you have uploaded.

17.Termination

We are entitled to revoke your status as a Subscriber or otherwise limit your right of access to Communities of Practice at any time:

* where you have materially or persistently breached this User Policy, Privacy Policy or Discussion forum ; or

* in any event on 1 week’s notice.

18.General

Please note the following:

* any failure or delay by us to bring legal proceedings in relation to Communities of Practice, the Content or this User Policy shall not be regarded as a waiver of any rights. Indeed if we do waive any such rights, this shall not be regarded to be a waiver of any other or future rights we may have;

* if any paragraph, or part of any paragraph, of this User Policy is found by any Court, or other competent body to be wholly or partly illegal, invalid, void, voidable, unenforceable or unreasonable, that part shall be deemed to be severable from this User Policy and the remaining provisions of this User Policy shall continue in full force and effect;

* the User Policy is not intended, nor shall it operate, to create a partnership or joint venture of any kind between us and you, and you are not authorised to act as our agent;

* no term of this User Policy shall be enforceable under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 (“Act”) by a third party, who is not a party to this agreement save for any other User who shall be entitled to exercise any rights it may have under that Act against you. Notwithstanding that any term of this User Policy may be or become enforceable by any other User, we shall be entitled to vary, amend, modify, suspend, cancel or terminate our agreement with you in accordance with the other terms of the User Policy, without their consent;

* you may serve any formal notice on us by Contacting Us, and we may serve a formal notice on you, by either first class post or email to the contact details you submitted upon registration (as may be updated by you from time to time) and such notice will be regarded as formally received by the other on the next day that is not a weekend or a public holiday;

* this User Policy represents all the terms and conditions of your agreement with us that arises automatically when you use Communities of Practice, and supersedes any previous agreements between us relating to your use of Communities of Practice. If there are any inconsistencies between our Discussion Forum Policy, our Privacy Policy or any legal notices or instructions, and the terms and conditions set out on this webpage, then the latter shall prevail;

* you acknowledge that (in relation to your use of Communities of Practice) you have not relied on any statement, representation, warranty or understanding made by us or on our behalf (whether or not made negligently) other than those expressly set out in this User Policy;

* this User Policy shall be interpreted in accordance with English Law and you and we submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.

19.Contacting Us

You can contact us by sending an e-mail message to: communities@idea.gov.uk.

Or by writing to us at:

IDeA

Layden House

76-86 Turnmill Street

London EC1M 5LG

DISCUSSION FORUM POLICY

Please take a moment to read the following Discussion Forum Policy. This should be read in conjunction with our User Policy and Privacy Policy. If there is anything you do not understand, then please Contact Us.

This Discussion Forum Policy sets out certain rules that will govern your use of the discussion forums (“Discussion Forums”) including some guidelines that we hope you will find helpful.

The Discussion Forums are only available to users registered with Communities of Practice (“Forum Users”). Some specific Discussion Forums are further limited to specific user groups.

To become a Forum User you must either:

* be registered as a Subscriber of Communities of Practice (please see our User Policy for details); or

* otherwise register here.

The Discussion Forums are provided as a place for Forum Users to report information, seek advice and share ideas. As in a real community, Forum Users are asked to respect other Forum Users and their rights.

1.This Discussion Forum Policy

Your access and use of the Discussion Forums is subject to your acceptance of, and compliance with the provisions of this Discussion Forum Policy and any other legal notices and/or instructions which may appear in the Discussion Forums (including in any messages or attachments posted on a Discussion Forum) from time to time.

IMPORTANT: By accessing and using the Discussion Forums you will automatically be taken to have read, understood and accepted this Discussion Forum Policy. If you do not agree to be bound by this Discussion Forum Policy, please cease to access any Discussion Forums. If you fail to observe any of the provisions of this Discussion Forum Policy, we reserve the right, at our discretion and without notice, to remove or edit any Messages and/or to exclude you (either temporarily or permanently) from the Discussion Forums, depending on the nature and severity of your breach.

This Discussion Forum Policy may be amended from time to time, and we therefore suggest that you review it periodically.

2.Rules for using the Discussion Forums

* General Behaviour – Forum Users must not transmit to any Discussion Forum (“Post”) any message or reply (including attachments) (“Message”), or knowingly receive via a Discussion Forum (“Access”) any Message that is unlawful, illegal, fraudulent, offensive, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortuous, indecent, obscene, defamatory, invasive of another’s privacy, or discriminatory whether racially, ethnically, sexually, religiously or otherwise, or which may incite or instruct any person or organisation to undertake such activities.

* Use of Language – Forum Users must not Post or Access Messages containing language that is in any way unlawful, threatening or offensive. This includes the use of swear-words, bad language and offensive nicknames.

* Breach of Confidence – Forum Users must not Post or Access Messages that might in any way breach the confidence of another individual. For example, an email received from an individual cannot be placed on a Discussion Forum without first obtaining that individual’s consent.

* Breach of Intellectual Property – Forum Users must not Post or Access Messages that might in any way infringe any patent, trade mark, trade secret, copyright, database right or other similar right of any person.

* Impersonation – Forum Users must not impersonate any person or identity, falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or organisation or disguise the origin of any content of a Message.

* Viruses – Forum Users must not Post or Access Messages that might contain computer viruses or any other computer code, or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software, hardware, or telecommunications equipment.

* Illegal and Harmful Activities – Forum Users must not Post or Access Messages relating to (or including links to) pirated software (including computer games), counterfeit goods or any other material which is, or might reasonably considered to be, illegal or otherwise harmful.

* Pornography – Forum Users must not Post or Access Messages relating to (or including links to) any kind of pornography.

* Personal Data – Forum Users must not Post any messages containing another person’s personal information (including their name, home address, job title, telephone number or other contact details) without first obtaining the relevant person’s consent, nor may you use the Discussion Forums to collect or store personal information concerning other persons.

* Permitted Use – You may only use the Discussion Forums for either an Organisations lawful purpose(s) or your own personal non-commercial use. You must not Post any Messages containing or including links to any overt advertisements or promotional materials, or otherwise use the Discussion Forums overtly to generate personal business from other Forum Users.

3.Your Personal Information

When you register as a Forum User you must submit your name, email address and other details. In return we agree to use all such personal information in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

You are responsible for ensuring the safety of all other personal information. We recommend that you do not include your home address, telephone number or other more sensitive personal information in any Messages, unless you are entirely satisfied that such information should be made public.

4.Monitoring

In order to provide Forum Users with general support and advice in relation to their use of the Discussion Forums and for security and abuse-management reasons, we reserve the right to:

*access and monitor the use of Discussion Forums and any Messages Posted on them; and

*take whatever other steps we consider are necessary to protect our Forum Users, including editing or removing any Messages or suspending or discontinuing any Discussion Forums.

We do not undertake to monitor every Message nor to monitor the conduct of every Forum User. Facilitators will access the Discussion Forums from time to time in order to help ensure that other Forum Users are adhering to this Discussion Forum Policy.

5.Liability and Disclaimers

Please read carefully the paragraphs entitled Disclaimers in our User Policy.

Please note that:

* as the Discussion Forums consist largely of Messages Posted by Forum Users that are not employed or contracted by us, we can accept no liability in respect of the content of any Messages, including the accuracy or truthfulness of any such Messages or any responsibility for the consequences of your acting in reliance on such Messages, nor do we endorse any opinions expressed by any Forum Users in any Messages;

* we cannot guarantee the prompt editing or removal of any Messages;

* we reserve the right at our sole discretion to remove or edit Messages from the Discussion Forums or to suspend or discontinue any Discussion Forums at any time for any reason; and

* we reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to deny any Forum User access to the Discussion Forums, without notice, for any breach of this Discussion Forum Policy.

PRIVACY POLICY

Please take a moment to read the following Privacy Policy. This should be read in conjunction with our User Policy and Discussion Forum Policy. Please note that words which are defined in our User Policy also apply to this Privacy Policy. If there is anything you do not understand then please Contact Us.

1.This Privacy Policy

We are committed to protecting your privacy online. This Privacy Policy sets out how we treat your personal information, allowing you to make informed choices about the personal information that you provide to us either via our website at www.communities.idea.gov.uk, or otherwise in relation to Communities of Practice.

IMPORTANT: By accessing and using Communities of Practice and submitting any personal information to us via or in relation to Communities of Practice or (including our Discussion Forums) or your registration as a, Subscriber, you will automatically be taken to have read, understood and accepted this Privacy Policy.

If you do not want us to collect, use and/or transfer your personal information in this way then you should (depending on what it is you object to) cease to access and use Communities of Practice and/or Contact Us and ask for your registration as a, Subscriber, to be deleted.

This Privacy Policy may be amended from time to time, and we therefore suggest that you review it periodically.

2.What we mean by personal information

Personal information means any data from which you can be identified (including information such as your name, email address and password) and which concerns you. All personal information that we obtain from you in relation to Communities of Practice will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of this Privacy Policy and the Data Protection Act 1998.

3.Personal information that we collect

Your “Record” constitutes the information we collect:

* via the “Registration” page as a, Subscriber, comprising various details about you, including your name, email address, job title, and any other comments you may have about your application to register to use Communities of Practice;

* via the “My Profile” page about your areas of interest.

We also collect personal information when you submit personal information contained in any Content you may upload onto Communities of Practice (including posting messages on a Discussion Forum), or when you email, write to, or telephone us. From time to time we may also request additional information, either by contacting you directly or through Communities of Practice. There will be no obligation on you to provide this additional information.

Finally, we use session cookies to store information about your current Communities of Practice session. These cookies are deleted when you leave Communities of Practice and close your browser.  Please see below for more information About Cookies.

4.How we use your personal information

Your personal information is used by us so that we can administer and support Communities of Practice and your registration as a Subscriber, and to provide you with access to the appropriate areas and functions of Communities of Practice (including to particular Content) depending on your status as a User. For example:

* access to community area is given only by Subscribers of the relevant community;

* access to certain discussion forums depends on whether you are a Subscriber to the community;

* Subscribers are entitled to access and use the People Finder (see paragraph 6 below);

* Content (other than postings on Discussion Forums) may only be uploaded by Subscribers; and

In addition, where you have not withdrawn your consent to this in the “My Profile” page we may use your personal information:

* to contact you from time to time, in order to ask for your views on Communities of Practice and/or any of the Content and to notify you occasionally about important changes or developments to Communities of Practice;

* for Subscribers to access and search the People Finder (see paragraph 6 below);

We may use information provided by you (such as what you think about Communities of Practice and improvements that you would like to see made) or statistical information collected, so that we can improve our service to you or make your visits to Communities of Practice more rewarding.

Except in very specific circumstances, we do not disclose any of your information to other parties, except where you have given your consent in the “My Profile” section of Communities of Practice.

Otherwise, we reserve the right to give your personal information to a third party without your consent where:

* the disclosure is required by law, such as where there is a court order, or statutory obligation requiring us to make such a disclosure; and/or

* we believe that such disclosure is necessary in order to assist in the prevention or detection of any criminal action (including fraud) or is otherwise in the overriding public interest, and is permitted by law.

5.People Finder

The People Finder is a search facility accessible by all Subscribers to search for peers, advisers and other practitioners in the Community of Practice, based upon enhanced search criteria (the “Search Facility”).

This Search Facility will search through the fields contained in Subscribers’ “My Profile” section of Communities of Practice. For example:

* name
* job title;
* skills and experience keywords;
* areas of expertise additional comments entered.

The above information is all provided at your option.

A successful search will produce one or more links to profiles of relevant Subscribers.

These profiles will include information from such person’s Record contained in the “My Profile” section of Communities of Practice.

Subscribers’ use of the Search Facility must at all times comply with the User Policy, and in particular is subject to strict adherence with a number of rules set out in Paragraph 7 of the User Policy.

IMPORTANT: Please note that we may update the “My Profile” section of Communities of Practice which may alter or add to the fields available for the Search Facility. However Subscribers, are free to control whether specific information about them is included in the Search Facility, by removing such details from their “My Profile” section.

6.How we protect your personal information

We are strongly committed to data security and we take reasonable and appropriate steps to protect your personal information from unauthorised access, loss, misuse, alteration or corruption. We have put in place physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information you provide to us.

These steps include communicating this Privacy Policy to our employees and relevant contractors. Only authorised employees and contractors under strict controls will have access to your personal information.

However, while we strive to protect your personal information, due to the nature of the internet we cannot guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us. With this in mind, we urge you to take every precaution to protect your personal information while you are on the internet.

7.How long we keep your personal information

We will keep and use the personal information contained in your Record for as long as you are registered as a Subscriber, and for at least 7 years afterwards, in order to deal with any consequent queries or complaints you may have.

If you cease to access Communities of Practice for over 2 years then we shall mark your Record as ‘gone away’ and inactivate your registration. If you wish to use Communities of Practice after such period has elapsed then you may need to re-register with us.

If you cease to access Communities of Practice for over 7 years then your Record will be expunged from our systems, unless there is a specific legal reason or requirement to keep the information for longer, for example if it is relevant to any current or potential legal proceedings.

Any references to you in any current Communities of Practice records, and any statistical or anonymised information (from which you cannot be identified) may be kept for longer periods.

8.Updating your personal information

You are entitled to see the information held about you and to amend or update any inaccuracies in your personal information.

9.Liability

Please read carefully the paragraphs entitled Disclaimers, Our Liability and Your Liability in the User Policy, as they also apply to this Privacy Policy.

10.About cookies

Cookies are small files stored in your computer’s hard drive by your web browser. When you access Communities of Practice our computer server will access these cookies so that it can recognise your computer, and make using Communities of Practice easier for you. For example, cookies allow us to remember your username and password to save you having to retype it every time you visit Communities of Practice.

Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can alter your settings to allow you to be prompted every time a cookie is sent to you or you can choose not to receive cookies at all. However, please note that if you have ‘disabled’ cookies in your browser this way you may not be able to use certain features on Communities of Practice.

For independent information about cookies you can go to www.allaboutcookies.org.