ACL Computer Use Policy (including e-safety and acceptable use with ACL equipment and centres)


Adult Community Learning (ACL)

Control of Document

ACL Extended Leadership Team

Policy Aims and Intentions

Safety and security is a prime consideration for all education establishments using the Internet. To ensure we provide a safe learning environment for our users, ACL adheres to the internet safety policy and systems of its Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the JANET(UK) (Joint Academic NETwork). The systems are deployed to reduce the risks associated with Internet use in an education environment.

Responsibility Group

ACL Senior Leadership Team

Policy Writer

Vice Principal Quality and Compliance

Date of acceptance

December 2011

Last review date

August 2023

Next review date

August 2024


All ACL Staff and ACL Learners

Stored Location

ComEdPool Policies/Strategies





The purpose of this policy is to ensure that ACL users understand the way in which the Internet and the computer network are to be used. The policy aims to ensure that the Internet is used effectively for its intended purpose, without infringing legal requirements or creating unnecessary risk. The legal framework that informs this policy is included in Appendix 1.  All ACL users are required to sign up to this acceptable use policy when they log on for the first time. Learners must accept the conditions set out below in order to access any material.

Please note these conditions apply to the whole duration of your time as a learner, or member of staff of ACL.



The policy applies to ACL learners and staff accessing the teaching and learning network.

ACL staff that have access to the Essex County Council administration network are bound by the policies of the County Council and will be governed by whichever policy is the stronger.

ACL’s networks are connected to Internet at each Centre through a common ISP. The Service also uses JANET(UK) for its web services where the JANET(UK) Acceptable Use Policy governs the use of JANET. Further details can be found at Jisc’s Acceptable Use Policy


Policy statement

ACL Essex encourages users to make effective use of the Internet and the computer networks. Such use should always be lawful and appropriate. It should not compromise ACL’s information and computer systems nor have the potential to damage ACL’s reputation.

It is inappropriate use of the internet system for users to access, download or transmit any material which might reasonably be considered obscene, abusive, sexist, racist, defamatory, related to violent extremism or terrorism or which is intended to annoy, harass or intimidate another person. Please note that this also applies to use of social media systems accessed from ACL systems.


Use of computer facilities

For the purposes of this document, Internet usage means any connection to the Internet via Web browsing, external email or news groups.

ACL Essex will promote safe and responsible use of the internet through ‘Guidance for Internet Safety’ (appendix 3) and publicising acceptable and unacceptable use.

ACL Essex expects all users to use the Internet and the computer networks responsibly and strictly according to the following conditions:


Acceptable Use:

Each individual is responsible for the security and use of their username and password. You are not allowed to use the account, username or password of any other user. You must not disclose your username or password to anyone else or log on for another user.  See Appendix 4.

Activity of any type generates a ‘log’ describing the precise nature of the activity, who was involved, and the details of the computer used to access the system.

You must:

  1. Use these computers and the internet for work and tasks that support learning and achievement on your course.
  2. Always log off properly when you have finished and leave the equipment as you would expect to find it.
  3. Make sure you know what ‘unacceptable use’ is and immediately report unacceptable use to a member of staff.
  4. Store work on the VLE, Teams site or your OneDrive account. Leaving work on individual computers is not protected.
  5. Follow and adhere to ACL’s Working Safely Online and Online Safety Policy.


Unacceptable use:

When using ACL’s devices or network, you must not:

  1. Attempt to install or store any programmes or games onto the computer system.
  2. Dismantle; damage, disable or remove parts from computers or network equipment (e.g. mouse, keyboard, cables).
  3. Attempt to connect your own personal laptop, PDA or any other device via cable, wireless, or any other means to the system.
  4. Attempt to repair faults.
  5. Change the settings on the computer unless for accessibility reasons – including screensavers, internet or network settings, defaults and e-mail settings.
  6. Use ACL systems for commercial purposes (buying and selling).
  7. Change or destroy other people’s information or files.
  8. Upload, download, or otherwise transmit (make, produce or distribute) shareware/software or any copyrighted materials.
  9. Breach copyright law relating to computer software, music, video or other copyrighted material.
  10. Copy information to submit as your own on externally accredited programmes (plagiarism).
  11. Use ACL equipment for the production or publication of printed material that is not explicitly course related.
  12. Intentionally waste resources (e.g. excessive printing, unnecessary e-mails). Print runs of more than 20 pages must be agreed in advance with a member of ACL staff. Printing should relate to your course and not personal documents.
  13. Eat or drink near computer equipment.
  14. Ignore any ‘Virus Detected’ message or fail to act on the instructions within it.
  15. Engage in ‘Chat’ or ‘Chat room’ activities on the Internet, unless this is a part of your course.
  16. Arrange to meet anyone over the Internet.
  17. Access, download, store or transmit any material which might reasonably be considered obscene, abusive, sexist, racist, defamatory, related to violent extremism or terrorism or which is intended to annoy, harass or intimidate another person. Please note that this also applies to use of social media systems accessed from ACL systems.
  18. Send or forward spam, chain, junk or nuisance e-mails.
  19. Open e-mail attachments unless you know it is from a reliable source.
  20. Attempt to guess other user’s passwords, bypass security in place, hack into, or alter settings on computers or the network or gain access to areas of the system for which you do not have the appropriate permissions.
  21. Publicise or transmit personal or confidential information.
  22. Use any hacking or key/code cracking software or attach additional devices to the network.
  23. Disclose your password to others or use passwords intended for others. Users are responsible for all actions performed using their ID.
  24. Intentionally interfere with the normal operation of the Internet connection, including introducing computer viruses or any other malicious computer code/programs, sending or receiving of large files or sending and receiving of large numbers of small files or any activity that causes network congestion and hinders others in their use of the Internet.
  25. Tick boxes to “remember me on this computer” or remember password for future logins.
  26. Post anything abusive, defamatory, obscene or otherwise illegal.
  27. Post any personal or private information on yourself or any other individual.
  28. Use any inappropriate or offensive language when posting comments.
  29. Make any comments that are aimed at deliberately upsetting or offending any other person.
  30. Copy or forward email or any other private communication without permission.



ACL acknowledges that in certain planned learning activities, access to sites which may seem inappropriate, may be beneficial for educational use (for example investigating racial issues). Any such access should be pre-planned and recorded so that it can be justified if required.

Staff are reminded that print jobs are monitored. Documents should be printed using Everyone Print system. Where this is not possible, one copy should be printed in the classroom and then photocopied. Any large or unusual printing will be challenged through the Curriculum Leads.


If inappropriate material is accessed accidentally, users should immediately report this to a member of staff so that our IT staff can be informed. If inappropriate use of the internet or network is discovered or suspected, please tell a member of staff immediately without changing the evidence.


For any safeguarding concerns please contact the Safeguarding Team at: . There are posters in the classroom advising how to contact and report an incident. There is also a link on the home page of the VLE where you can find details of how to report an incident.

Appendix 2 shows the reporting process. This process should be strictly followed to ensure the appropriate actions are carried out.


ACL will ensure all resources and documentation are accessible to learners and will support learners, through the use of technology where appropriate, to access these resources on both college and personal devices.


ACL’s monitoring, filtering and recording of inappropriate materials are in line with KCSIE 2023’s requirements. ACL will monitor and audit the use of the Internet to see whether users are complying with the policy.

An internet filtering system is in place on ACL Essex’s teaching and learning computers and laptops to increase the level of internet safety and there are reporting procedures in place for staff should any learner report a site that appears to be offensive.

Incidents which appear to involve deliberate access to Web sites, newsgroups and online groups that contain the following material will be reported to the police:

  • images of child abuse (images of children, apparently under 16 years old) involved in sexual activity or posed to be sexually provocative
  • adult material that potentially breaches the Obscene Publications Act in the UK
  • criminally racist material in the UK
  • terrorist and extremist material

If a user’s conduct and/or action(s) are illegal, the user may become personally liable.









Appendix 1 – Legal Framework


There are several laws that have a bearing on the use of ACL Essex computer facilities, which all users must obey. These include:


  1. GDPR


  1. The Computer Misuse Act 1990 These offences are punishable by law with prison sentences ranging from six months to five years and unlimited fines



  1. The Copyrights, Designs And Patents Act 1988 Users must respect the copyright of all material and software made available internally and by third parties. Such material is often obtained by the Service at special rates, and this arrangement is jeopardised by unauthorised copying. If copyrighted material is to be incorporated into material published online (for example, via the World Wide Web), the permission of the copyright holder must first be obtained


  1. Obscene Publications Act 1959; Criminal Justice And Public Order Act 1994 Protection Of Children Act 1978 Using computer facilities for the storage, transmission or display of obscene material is illegal. In addition to the serious penalties faced by the offender, investigation may result in confiscation of computer equipment by the Police.


  1. Libel Laws – The libel laws cover publishing via electronic media. Sending defamatory material via email, or publishing it on the World Wide Web, can lead to expensive prosecution.


  1. The Prevent Duty Guidance for higher education institutions in England and Wales. Departmental advice for schools linked to the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015.




Appendix 2 – Internet Safety Protocol


The following Internet Safety Protocol is designed to be followed in the event that the Internet is used to access (or if there is suspicion of access) inappropriate or illegal material.

As these situations only occur rarely, these steps are provided to give quick and easy guidance about what to do. ACL may be required to provide supporting information in this type of situation. As a result of the legal position, ACL has internal processes and procedures in place that enables information to be provided swiftly whilst adhering to relevant laws. This process may also help to defuse the tension that can be associated with these situations. Be assured that ACL will manage any such situation both in, and with, confidence.

Initial Steps:

  1. Secure and take control of the area containing the equipment. Do not allow anyone into the room/area.
  2. Move people away from any computers and power supplies. DO NOT access the computer at all to see what has been viewed
  • Contact the ACL Safeguarding Officer who will advise you on completing the next steps
  1. Contact the Information Governance Team urgently on 033301 39824 or, and report it as a critical incident.
  2. Call the police if there is suspected illegal activity; advice will be given to you in relation to this when you call ISIS Risk.
  3. Do not power down the computer at all
  • Contact the senior manager for the centre and notify them of the incident. The senior manager should then notify the ACL Networks Manager.
  • DO NOT touch or access any of the equipment. Wait for instruction from the Counter Fraud Team who will provide guidance on the next actions.
  1. If there were witnesses to the inappropriate access, they should write down all they can recall as soon as possible in case they are required to provide a Police statement.











Appendix 3 – Guidance for Internet Safety


To protect yourself and your computer against online threats

  1. Get security software with anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall and keep these up to date.
  2. Use an up to date web browser that will warn you against known harmful websites.
  3. Make sure passwords have a mix of several words, letters, numbers and punctuation, and use different passwords for different sites
  4. Avoid easy passwords like – ‘123456’; ‘password’; ‘letmein’; ‘monkey’; ‘qwerty’; ‘abc123’
  5. Never reply to spam, not even to try to unsubscribe.
  6. Make sure you know how your personal details will be used before giving them to companies
  7. Protect yourself against eavesdroppers and freeloaders by encrypting your wireless network.


When using blogs, chat rooms and social network sites (e.g. Twitter, FaceBook or Instagram)

  1. When registering with social network site always check you can unsubscribe if you need to.
  2. Use a nick-name and do not tell people your address or telephone number.
  3. Be careful about who you accept into your group of friends. These people can see your details.
  4. Think about what you post on the internet before you do it. It will be on the net forever.
  5. Do not meet up with someone that you have been chatting to on the internet. If you do, always take a friend with you for the whole meeting.
  6. Make sure you know how to report abuse or bullying on the site and how your complaint will be dealt with.
  7. For protecting your personal information, check the advice on web sites like Ico


For On-line shopping and auctions

  1. Visit ‘Get safe online’ before you shop online or use online auctions Get Safe Online
  2. When paying on line, make sure the URL (address) of the payment page starts https:// rather than http:// and look for a closed padlock symbol when paying for goods online. This is a sign the page is secure to take payments.




Cyberbullying via ACL Essex computers and laptops, or any other source, will not be tolerated and will be dealt with seriously. All activity on the ACL teaching and learning network is logged and traceable. When you log in and accept the user agreement, you agree to alert a tutor or member of staff immediately if you become aware of any comments or materials posted on the ACL network that may be offensive or hurtful to others. If you feel you are being bullied, please contact the Safeguarding Officer.

Further information about keeping safe online can be found on the home page of the ACL Virtual Learning Environment .


Appendix 4

Office 365 for Education


Learner Accounts


When learners begin studying with ACL, they will be given details of their Office 365 account. This will include access to: Office 365 online including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneDrive, Teams, Forms.  We will not initially include apps such as Yammer whilst we monitor communication channels.

Learners will lose access to their 365 account two months after their course finishes if they are no longer studying with ACL.

Guidance on using 365 will be on the website in the ACL Help Hub

Staff Accounts


Tutors will have an ACL Office 365 account for the use of Teams with their learners. Tutors should however continue to use their ECC email address for all communication except for file sharing within ACL OneDrive.

Teams for teaching are set up by the Learning Technologies Manager. All Teams have:

At least two owners – the tutor and their Curriculum Lead

All Teams must have a channel for induction including Safeguarding Information

Tutors are responsible for managing and monitoring their Teams content to ensure it complies with policies.


ACL Admin (Networks Manager, Technicians and Learning Technologies Manager) have access to all Teams and channels.




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