Public sector IT managers’ organisation Socitm is asking its local authority members for their views on the use of social media.

For many IT managers in the public sector, social media is regarded as a security threat in organisations with large amounts of confidential data, a drain on bandwidth and a general strain on IT systems and infrastructure.

However, social media is also used in local government for peer networking, communications, customer insight and community engagement.

According to Socitm, councils that have blocked access to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other websites have faced a backlash – with the IT department often being blamed by front line staff.

“Socitm is keen to explore where blocking policies exist, whether these come from IT or elsewhere in the council, and on what grounds such policies have been put in place,” the organisation said, launching a members’ survey.

The survey will also try to find out ways in which councils have started to use social media to improve efficiency & effectiveness, to engage with citizens, and to encourage virtual communities.

The results of the survey will be incorporated into a new report on local authorities’ use and practice around social media to be published by Socitm Insight in the autumn, and will feature at the organisation’s annual conference in October. The survey has been sent to Socitm members, but the organisation is keen to get others to take part. For more information, contact [email protected].