Web & Intranet Co-Ordinator
Communications Manager
Head of Corporate Services
16 January 2015
16 January 2016
16 January 2016


NHS Fife provides a number of online internal forums to facilitate staff networking.  This policy provides a set of guidelines and standards for the moderators of and users of these forums.

1.1 Definitions

Forum – A defined topic area on staff intranet for posting discussions and messages.  Contains a number of themes.
Theme – A subject area within one of the forums which contains a number of threads.
Thread – A discussion or new post within one of the themes.  Users can reply to threads.
Post – An individual message or reply within a thread.


All users of the NHS Fife Discussion Forums


3.1 Web & Intranet Co-Ordinator

NHS Fife’s Web and Intranet Co-ordinator is a point of contact for all activities relating to the development and maintenance of the NHS Fife Intranet Discussion Forums.

The Web & Intranet Co-Ordinator is responsible for the creation of new discussion forums and the creation and support of forum moderators.

3.2 Moderators

Moderators are responsible for maintaining a particular forum, ensuring posts by users comply with the forum rules.  Moderators are responsible for closing or removing posts or discussions from their forum that do not comply with the forum rules.

3.3 Users

Users can create posts, or reply to existing posts within discussion forums that they have rights to access.

Users must ensure that any posts made comply with this and any other relevant NHS Fife policy or procedure.


4.1 Creation of a Discussion Forum

Discussion forums can be created for a particular department/service or group.  On identifying the need for a forum, the owning department/service or group must complete a forum request form (Appendix 1) signed by the requester and Head of Service.

The forum request details the purpose, intended audience and the moderators for each forum.

4.2 Posting and replying to threads.

Users of the intranet will be able to view, create or reply to existing threads.

Users must be logged into the intranet to create or reply to threads.  Generic network logins must not be used.

Discussion forums are designed to be transitory in nature.  Content designed for long term use such as guidelines, minutes or other publications should not be posted.  Documents of this type should be stored elsewhere on the intranet.  The discussion forums must not be used as a document store.

4.2.1 Core Forum Rules

All users of the discussion forums must conform to the core forum rules, the Online Communications Policy and any other related policies and procedures.

Threads or individual posts within them will be removed by forum moderators if they

  • contain or link to offensive, obscene, defamatory or threatening material;
  • contain material or link to material which endorses or promotes discrimination;
  • contain any patient identifiable information (including any combination of data which could identify an individual patient);
  • breach confidentiality or privacy legislation;
  • contain information of an essentially personal, political, business or commercial nature unrelated to the work of NHS Fife;
  • contain obsolete or inaccurate information.

Posts may also be removed at the discretion of the forum moderator if they:

  • are considered to be ‘spam’, such as posts containing the same, or similar message posted multiple times,
  • are off-topic for the particular forum,

Discussion forums are not a replacement for line management responsibility.

Concerns about inappropriate behaviour towards patients, financial irregularities and other serious issues can be raised using HR6 Dealing with Employee Concerns.

Forums should not be used to raise HR or personal issues.

Misuse of discussion forums may be investigated by the line manager in line with NHS Fife’s Management of Employee Conduct Policy.


4.2 Staff Noticeboard

As well as department/service or group forums, a general area will be available for use by all staff

  1. The staff noticeboard may be used for sharing general work information, sharing work related social activities or personal items wanted/for sale.
  2. The staff noticeboard is not a discussion board/forum and use should be limited to those listed above.
  3. The site must not be used to advertise any business or commercial activity. Advertising of events for registered charitable causes is permitted in the relevant area, such as Children in Need, Cancer Research etc.  Recruitment adverts for any organisation are not permitted.
  4. Placing and access to messages must be undertaken in the employee’s own time. i.e. before work, during official break(s) or after work.
  5. NHS Fife does not accept any liability for any choices made by individuals using the noticeboard unless in response to an official NHS notice.
  6. Goods must not be offered for sale on behalf of someone else but must be personal items. If there is any doubt regarding the condition of any good sold through the noticeboard, it is a matter for the purchaser to seek their own advice. Sellers are reminded that they must give an accurate description of the goods they propose to sell.
  7. NHS Fife in no way condones any illegal activity such as the sale of counterfeit goods and will co-operate fully with any enforcement agency which expresses concern at any entry on the system.
  8. Any misuse of the staff noticeboard facility could result in disciplinary action within the terms of the Management of Employee Conduct Policy.
  9. The administrator of the staff noticeboard reserves the right to remove, edit, move or close any notice for any reason.

4.3 Moderation

When a forum is created for a department/service or group, local moderators will be assigned to look after content posted within their forum.

Posts on the discussion forums are moderated reactively.  Users can alert moderators to inappropriate content using the ‘Report’ link on every post.

Messages that are posted by users should not be edited by the moderator in any way. The moderator should contact the user and ask them to edit their post if it needs to be changed.

Each moderator must respect the actions of other moderators; if there is a disagreement then it should be discussed outside the forum.

If a moderator removes a post, they must communicate to the user in full the justification for why the message has been removed.

If there is uncertainty on an issue, contact should be made with another moderator or member of Web Services for clarification.

If a thread is going “downhill”, the local moderator should close the thread (for example a completely off-topic discussion).  However, threads should not be closed on the basis that the initial question/concern was answered. 

Prior to closing a thread, moderators can remind users to return to the original topic.  If the thread is closed, moderators should leave a post explaining why.

4.4 Reporting Inappropriate Posts

If a user believes a post is inaccurate or inappropriate, they can ‘report’ the post to the relevant moderator for investigation using the link beside each post.


This procedure must be reviewed regularly under the authority of the Web and Intranet Co-ordinator. All associated procedures and processes linked to this procedure will be subject to an ongoing development and review programme.

Failure to abide by this procedure could lead to breach of the Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act and Caldicott recommendations.

It is the responsibility of the line manager to ensure this procedure is appropriately deployed within their area of responsibility.


HR3 Management of Employee Conduct
HR4 Dignity at Work
HR8 Equal Opportunities

CP/C9 – Confidentiality
GP/D3 – Data Protection Policy
GP/I3 – Internet Policy – ISO 27001:2005 ISMS
GP/I5 – Information Security
GP/O2 Online Communications

Code of Corporate Governance – Section G – Standards of Business Conduct for NHS Staff

Any other guidance issued by relevant Professional Regulatory Bodies