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8.5 Non-Tasmanian Government websites

Principles

There are a variety of reasons why it may be more appropriate to publish content on a third-party website (external site) rather than a Tasmanian Government website. Certain sites may provide functionality that cannot be provided on internally-run sites (such as allowing user contribution of content), or may be more effective at reaching the target audience than Tasmanian Government websites.

Examples of external websites that could be used to publish content include:

  • social networking sites
  • wikis
  • media sharing sites
  • blogs
  • forums.

External websites, particularly social media sites such as social networking, wiki and blog sites, usually require regular updates and interaction from both the content provider and the public to be successful. External websites will also have terms and conditions of use that will impact on how the Tasmanian Government can use the site.

Policy requirements

To ensure publishing standards and communications requirements are met, agencies must:

  • ensure all new pages and sites set up to represent the Government on external websites are authorised by the agency communications manager or their delegate
  • clearly identify the Tasmanian Government as the source of information published on external websites, either through the use of the Tasmanian Government logo, or through a statement of ownership
  • provide a link back to the agency’s website, as well as a mechanism to contact the agency about the content
  • develop a process to guide how the agency will manage and moderate feedback, comment and formal complaints made via an external site that allows for user comments or interaction (e.g. a social networking site or wiki)
  • set clear moderation expectations of agency staff as to what kind of comments are unacceptable when using an external site, and how to respond to comments
  • ensure the services and information resources provided via non-Tasmanian Government websites are comparable in quality and functionality to those delivered on Tasmanian Government websites or by other means
  • ensure records of government-sourced content and business transactions that occur on external websites are accurately recorded, in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 and the Libraries Act 1984. On external websites the Tasmanian Government does not need to record the look or functionality of the site as the Government is not the owner of the website
  • respect privacy rights and copyright ownership in compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act 2004 and the Copyright Act 1968
  • aim to provide information available on external websites through another means to individuals who may have limited or no access to the internet; where this is not possible (e.g. due to high frequency of information updates), ensure important or critical public information is available through other means
  • ensure the permission of subjects is gained when publishing photographs or videos on non-Tasmanian Government websites (see Acknowledgement of Use Image (Adult and Minor) Form).

When publishing on non-Tasmanian Government websites, it is recommended that agencies:

  • carefully consider whether the external website is an appropriate platform to reach the intended target audience
  • carefully consider the resourcing required to make social media communications successful before commencing projects using these channels
  • carefully consider whether the resources required to develop and maintain content on an external website are proportional to the anticipated public benefit
  • consider removing content from external websites where the project they relate to has finished and the content will no longer be maintained, while ensuring archiving and recordkeeping requirements are met
  • read the website’s terms of use and consider their implications for the intended use of the site. The site’s terms of use may also affect the Tasmanian Government’s status as the intellectual property or copyright owner of content.
  • consider producing guidelines that set out how staff should conduct themselves when representing their agency on sites that allow public comment and response, in accordance with the State Service Act 2000 and Ministerial Direction No. 10 of 2003 (Internet and email use by State Service officers and employees).