Electronic Communication and Social Media Policy

Electronic Communication and Social Media Policy

Aim of this policy

Gloucester Rowing Club (GRC) recognises that it is commonplace for members to communicate with each other via email messaging or social media platforms. The club expects members to abide by some rules of behaviour when communicating to another member, or where the recipient is a junior member of the club (under the age of 18 years) or an adult at risk.
This policy aims to highlight specific considerations in addition to four general principles that have been set out in the club’s Codes of Conduct, as listed below:
Members of GRC are expected to portray themselves in a manner that reflects well on the club.
Members are expected to be polite and considerate in all forms of written communication.
Members shall refrain from posting anything on the internet that could cause deliberate offense to another club member or brings the club into disrepute.
Members may report to the CWO or a Club Official any behaviour by another club member that they think is inappropriate, or has caused a risk or distress to them.

Definition of social media

Social media shall be taken to mean any websites or applications that enable a member to create and share content or to participate in social networking with another member.

Use of emails

The club expects members to take care when sending emails to any other member to ensure that they are not using this email to belittle, undermine or intentionally offend the recipient, or any other member. Members shall remember that words written in emails give an impression of the sender and therefore, emails should aim to be courteous, considerate, and appropriate.
Where practically possible, email addresses of individuals shall not be used directly, but instead members shall use email forwarding or group emails to send messages. When members leave the club or the relevant part of the club (e.g. moving from one squad to another) the member designated to administer the email group contact list shall remove their name from that email group as soon as practically possible, but within a year. The administrator shall notify members of any names added to their group email list. Members may ask to be removed from any group or distribution list, at any time.

Members who feel that they are receiving emails that place undue pressure on them, or are undermining etc. shall if possible try to explain to the sender why they feel this way, but if this is not working, shall ask the person to communicate with whoever is the next person above them within the club. This could be a coach, squad leader, captain, or member of the Committee.
Any member who is asked to stop emailing someone directly shall do so, and failure to do so shall be considered a breach of club policies and may result in disciplinary action against the member.

Adult members communicating with junior members or Adults at Risk shall be mindful of the following:
Adults in whatever capacity shall take care to use the minimum necessary direct communication with individual juniors or adults at risk, and shall have the parent/carer’s consent.
Where possible and sensible, communication shall be to whole groups of juniors.
Where a parent/carer’s email is available, communication with a single individual junior or adult at risk shall be copied to the parent/carer as well.

Use of devices to text or message

Adult members shall refrain from sending messages to any individual junior (other than their own child or relation) or an Adult at Risk without the prior consent of a parent/carer.
It may be necessary for DBS cleared coaches to temporarily have mobile phone contact details of an individual junior when at a competition venue away from the club. The phone numbers shall be deleted after the event.
It shall be acceptable for DBS cleared coaches to contact juniors on a group basis to inform them about rowing related matters, such as training times, or cancellations to sessions.

Use of social networking sites

The club is aware of the ever-increasing number of ways that adults and young people interact on social networking sites and the risks that these pose from inappropriate use. The club does not promote the use of these forums as a means for members to communicate with each other, but in the event of their use, the club recommends that members shall where possible be organised using a whole group, so that information and posts are shared with all participants in that group. GRC are aware that information sharing within closed group forums currently involves Facebook groups, Google Docs and Apps such as: Instagram, Snapchat, Band, WhatsApp and Slack.

The club expects members in a ‘position of trust’ to refrain from inviting any individual junior or an Adult at Risk, to become a friend on a private social networking site. In addition, members in a ‘position of trust’ shall refrain from accepting a friend request from a junior or an Adult at Risk on a private social networking site. The exception to this is if the member in a ‘position of trust’ is a parent/carer or relative. However, in such cases the club advises the member in a ‘position of trust’ to refrain from becoming friends with friends of their child or ward.

The club shall provide coaching training opportunities for coach members who may be aged 18 to 21 and may have previously been a junior member at the club before becoming a coach. In this case the club shall not expect that coach to remove their existing contacts from their social networking sites. However, it is expected that the coach shall refrain from adding new friends from the junior squad.

Use of photographs and images

All members shall refrain from taking devices into the changing facilities with the camera function switched on.
All images of juniors or Adults at Risk shall only be published by the club with the prior consent of the parent/carer.

The club shall explain to parents/carers on the membership form that photographs and videos of juniors and Adults at Risk may be taken for technical coaching purposes and they shall be available to view upon request of the parent/carer. Any parent/carer that does not give consent shall do so in writing.

All members shall be responsible for reporting to the CWO or other club official anyone they suspect of taking photographs or videos for an inappropriate use.