I understand that the council operates an internet filtering system which affects computers used on council premises as well as in the libraries.
1) What filtering software / system is used, and which company provides and supports this?
2) How are websites categorised, and which of these categories are currently blocked?
3) Which websites are blocked in addition to the blocked categories (for example wonga.com and other payday loans companies)
4) Who makes the decision to block specific categories and websites, and what is the process for doing so?
Dear Mr Furley,
Please find attached our acknowledgement letter for your request for
Karen Hellon I Information Team
Liverpool City Council I Municipal Buildings I Dale Street I Liverpool I
T: 0151 225 2303 I F: 0151 225 2392 I E: [email address]
Please find attached response
Dear Mr. Symm,
Many thanks for the prompt and comprehensive response to my FOI request.
I am completely satisfied that my points 1) to 3) have been answered fully.
However on point 4, "Who makes the decision to block specific categories and websites, and what is the process for doing so?", you've offered the following reply:
"The City Council has an e form for requests to block/unblock which is submitted to a centralised mailbox, all cases judged on merit and decisions made accordingly."
I don't believe that this addresses either the *who* or the *process* aspect of my question. More specifically, I was hoping you would send me the council's formal policy on the matter, which I expect covers the following specific questions:
- What is the council's assessment criteria for accepting or rejecting a block or unblock request?
- Which individual / committee / officer / job role is responsible and accountable for assessing the block / unblock request against these criteria and accepting or rejecting it?
- What protections are there against block requests made for commercial / political gain?
- Who can access the e-form and/or centralised mailbox: members of the public? elected representatives? council staff?
I would be most appreciative if you would expand your otherwise excellent response.
Dear Mr Furley
I can confirm that there isn't a single person who makes the final decision regarding the availability of a website.
As was stated in our response requests to block/unblock websites are submitted to a centralised mailbox. However, I should have explained that a team of staff have access to this mailbox and they make decisions regarding the websites. More complex requests for blocking/unblocking or the withdrawal of access to a category of websites is escalated to the management team and decisions made from there.
Requests made via the E-form can be made from all City Council employees who have access to PC's. Requests can also be made in writing or by telephone to the City Council's web team.
I am sorry you felt our response was inadequate. I have attached a copy of our most recent internet usage policy which you may find relevant.
I hope the information above is of assistance and, again, please accept my apologies for the previous response
Dear Mr. Symm,
Many thanks for the prompt update - no apologies required.
Your response has been most satisfactory, thank you.