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E-mail Policy

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1 BACKGROUND

This policy is designed to outline clear and straightforward guidelines for using Defence GBLTI Information Service (DEFGLIS) email system.

2 POLICY STATEMENT

While email is often credited with revolutionising business communication and enhancing productivity, the sheer volume can undermine these benefits. Additionally, as the use of email messages increases, both internally and to third parties via the Internet, DEFGLIS faces a number of risks.

Email may seem a more informal means of communication than letters or faxes. However, the same legal obligations and rights apply to email so sufficient care must be taken to protect DEFGLIS.

This Email Policy outlines the guidelines which must be followed at all times to minimise these business risks and maximise the benefits of email usage within DEFGLIS.

3 PERSONAL USE

DEFGLIS’ email system is a corporate asset, which must be used primarily for legitimate business purposes. Personal use is not forbidden, but such use must be limited and not affect work performance, or compromise the security or reputation of DEFGLIS. All messages distributed via the organisation’s email system remain DEFGLIS's property.

4 ACCESS

Personal Mail boxes

Personal mail boxes and passwords must not be shared:

o   Do not leave your email accessible when away from your computer so others can read or send a 
message from your PC purporting to be you, or amend or delete emails in your email account. 
You will be held responsible for all inappropriate email activity from your account.

o   If expecting email requiring attention whilst you are on deployment or unable to access your email you should contact the website administrator so that alternative arrangements can be made

o   Staff must obtain approval from the board before gaining 
access to the email account of a colleague in the event of either a planned or unplanned absence.

5 UNACCEPTABLE USE

  • It is strictly prohibited to:
  • Send or forward emails either internally or externally which contravene any law or could show DEFGLIS in an unprofessional light; for example, messages must not:
    • Contain offensive, racist or abusive language, obscene material, or be used for the purpose of harassment
    • Be used for any illegal purpose
    • Be used to discuss rumours relating to any individual or company
    • Contain over-emotional, offensive, heated or defamatory language.
  • Send or forward unsolicited emails, chain mail or emails with attachments known to have a virus.
  • Forge or attempt to forge email messages, or disguise or attempt to disguise your identity when sending email.
  • Set up rules to automatically forward emails received to an DEFGLIS email inbox to an external email address.
  • If you have any concerns about an email you’ve received from another staff member, you should refer it to the DEFGLIS Board.

6 BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES

DEFGLIS considers email an important means of communication and recognises both the importance of well-worded messages and prompt replies where necessary to convey a professional image and deliver a high-quality customer service. The same care should be taken when drafting an email as for other communication. Therefore, the following guidelines should be followed when using email.

o  Consider whether email is the most appropriate means of communication. Research has shown that simple messages delivered by email are two times more likely to be misinterpreted than telephone conversations and three times more likely than face-to-face communication. Situations where email is not likely to be an appropriate medium include communication:
Of complex issues or concepts
Of a confidential or sensitive nature of messages whose meaning are sensitive to tone and interpretation About an individual
To resolve a disagreement.

o  Only mark messages as important when they require urgent attention by the recipient.

o  Use the ‘cc’ function to ‘Carbon Copy’ others sparingly. Consider whether it is really necessary to copy all recipients to reduce the volume of unnecessary email. DEFGLIS is committed to an open communication policy. This means that the sender of an email has the right to expect that the contents of that email remain private to the addressees unless there is a shared understanding otherwise. The addressee(s) featured have, in turn, the right to expect that she/he or they are the only addressees. The Blind Carbon Copy function (bcc) doesn’t meet the open communication standard and therefore shouldn’t be used except for a few rare instances

o  When sending attachments to colleagues internally, place the file on the appropriate network folder and utilise the hyperlink instead of attaching documents to the email to prevent the unnecessary replication of files and minimise the size of the email.

o  The maximum allowable attachment size is 5MB. If you attempt to send or receive attachments greater than 5MB, the mail server will automatically reject the email and you will receive a delivery failure notification. 


As a general rule, recipients should try to respond to email within the same working day, if only to acknowledge receipt.

Prioritise emails requiring action and response. Those from external clients and business partners should generally take precedence over those from colleagues.

Consider whether it is necessary to reply to all recipients of a particular email, especially if the response is not intended for everyone on the original distribution list.

7 EMAIL SIGNATURES

Email signatures should be used to provide relevant contact information to the recipient; and may rarely be used for other purposes.Emails addressed to external recipients should contain your full name, job title, the trading name of DEFGLIS, telephone and facsimile numbers and website address. It should be laid out as follows:

Vince Chong
President
Defence LGBTI Information Service
T : 0452 505 223 |  F: 02 9475 1141
E: | W:  www.defglis.com.au

Staff should remove their contact details when it would be inappropriate to include them (eg: when sending personal emails).

8 NEWSLETTERS AND NEWS GROUPS 

Staff should obtain approval from their manager before subscribing to a newsletter or news group because your personal information could be passed onto third parties resulting in increased traffic of unsolicited email and increased risk of exposure to viruses or other malicious code. It can also be difficult to unsubscribe from certain newsletters and news groups, particularly after a staff member has left the organisation.

Some DEFGLIS staff maintain email group lists to send newsletters or other information to external clients or stakeholders. While DEFGLIS recognises the importance of reaching members via group email lists, there are important things to bear in mind to protect DEFGLIS.

You must comply with all relevant legislation (in particular, your attention is drawn to the Spam Act 2003 and Privacy legislation). The key points that you should be aware of in order to comply with this legislation are:

Consent. Your messages must only be sent when you have consent. This may be express consent from the person you wish to contact – a direct indication that it is okay to send the message, or messages of that nature. It is also possible to infer consent based on a business or other relationship with the person and their conduct.

Identify. Your messages must always contain clear and accurate identification of who is responsible for sending the message and how they can be contacted. It is important for people to know who is contacting them and how they can get in touch in return. This will generally be the organisation that authorises the sending of the message, rather than the name of the person who actually hits the “send” button. Identification details that are provided must be reasonably likely to be accurate for a period of 30 days after the message is sent. This would be a consideration if the business was about to change address.

Unsubscribe. Your messages must contain an unsubscribe facility, allowing people to indicate that messages should not be sent to them in future. This could be as simple as a line in your message saying “If you wish to opt out from future messages, send a reply with the subject UNSUBSCRIBE”. After a person indicates that they wish to unsubscribe, you have five working days to honour their request. Similar to the identification of the message’s sender (step 2, above) the unsubscribe facility must be reasonably likely to remain accurate and functional for a 30 day period. It need not be an automated process, but should be reliable.

Privacy. You must use the BCC function (Blind Carbon Copy) when sending group emails in order to maintain group members privacy. Furthermore you should not pass the details of any group member onto a third party.

It is also important to consider the size and volume of the mail out. Sending a mass-mailout, particularly if the size of the email is quite large is not good for our network or our mail server as it hogs bandwidth and processing power which can result in a degraded service to all users. Some steps to address this would be to reduce the size of the email and also consider breaking large groups into smaller groups so that you stagger the time that you send the emails rather than sending them all at once.

9 GENERAL MAINTENANCE

To conserve email system capacity, proactively manage your inbox and sent items, deleting all emails you do not require a copy of.

To reduce the risk of receiving junk email, consider who you pass your email address to; there is a danger you and the entire organisation will become the target of junk email. Should you have problems with unwanted emails, contact Helpdesk.

10 EMAILS SENT OR RECEIVED VIA THE INTERNET

Emails sent via the Internet are not secure. There is no guarantee of delivery and they may be tampered with by a third party. The content of a message can be modified or a message forwarded in a manner that gives the impression of it having originated elsewhere. It is therefore important to assess the authenticity of messages prior to making decisions based upon their contents.

Assume the contents of an email transmitted over the Internet may be accessible by individuals other than the intended recipients. They may be intercepted, incorrectly addressed or easily forwarded to third parties. Consequently, consider carefully the email’s contents to ensure no confidential or sensitive information is disclosed.

When using email for bona fide business purposes, be careful not to include any wording which may be construed by a third party as legally binding or which may constitute an offer.
All such communication should always be executed in hard copy on letter-headed paper. If email must be used for this type of communication, please ensure that the words ‘draft’, ‘commercial in confidence’, or ‘in confidence’ clearly appear on the email and retain an archival copy of the email.

Users must take necessary precautions when receiving emails via the Internet with attachments. These could contain viruses and should be checked before opening. Never open email attachments from an unknown or unsolicited source – simply delete them.

Do not reply to SPAM emails (mass marketing or inappropriate emails sent to a large number of addresses); this will only confirm your email address is valid and is likely to result in further SPAM emails being received. Simply delete them.

11 RETENTION

Emails should not be kept longer than necessary. Staff should proactively manage their email folders to ensure only relevant emails are retained.

All staff emails accounts have a maximum mailbox size limit of 250MB. If your mailbox is nearing this limit you will receive a notification warning you that must reduce the size of your mailbox. If your mailbox reaches this limit, it will be made inoperable and you will no longer be able to send or receive email until such time as the mailbox size is reduced to below the threshold. If emails are required to be kept, they should be moved to an archive so they do not cause your mailbox to exceed its maximum size limit. If you require assistance setting up mail archiving, contact your manager.

12 MONITORING

DEFGLIS does not as a policy monitor staff email. However, email messages and associated logs may be reviewed should DEFGLS be required by law, to resolve a dispute or to investigate alleged contravention of this or any other organisational policy. Monitoring procedures shall follow the principle of privacy and data protection in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

13 DISCLAIMER

All emails sent via the Internet should include DEFGLIS’ standard disclaimer as outlined below. This should not be removed under any circumstances.

“This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this email. Please notify the sender immediately by email if you have received this email by mistake and delete this email from your system. Please note any views or opinions expressed in this email are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of DEFGLIS. Email transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender therefore does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this message which arising as a result of email transmission.”

14 MISCELLANEOUS

All questions relating to this policy should be addressed to your manager in the first instance. 

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