Zoom and Social Media Code of Practice

Code of Practice for Digital Meetings

When we are unable to meet together in person, it is good to continue to connect with each other and support each other by digital means. This code of practice is designed to protect our security, to safeguard the vulnerable from harm and to encourage to uphold our Christian beliefs and values, whatever communication method we may use.

Virtual Meetings

The meetings of many church groups are currently remotely facilitated using the Zoom video conferencing system. The details listed below refer specifically to Zoom, but the same principles should be applied if other meeting software is used.

Security

To prevent unknown people from accessing the meeting

The host will:

  • Issue invitations from a church email address to protect their personal details
  • Always require a password to be used when accessing the meeting via a computer or by phone. This will be issued to individuals on request and not be publicly displayed.
  • Enable the ‘waiting room’ function, so that the host can view who is waiting before allowing them to join the meeting.
  • The host has the right to refuse admission to any person whose identity is not recognisable.

Participants will:

  • Use a recognisable name to log in, ie not the name of their computer or device, so that the host can see who is requesting to join the meeting.
  • Consider creating a separate login using email, rather than with Facebook or Google ID. Using these ID’s can enable data sharing between applications.
  • Be careful about any links you give out or click on to ensure they are from reputable sites.
  • Be aware that Zoom may collect information about participants including IP address, device details and operating system details. For more information, please see Zoom’s Privacy Policy: https://zoom.us/privacy 

Data Protection

  • You should be aware that, when you join a Zoom meeting, some data will be disclosed to other participants and to the hosts. For instance, your name will appear in the attendee list. If you turn on your video camera, your image will be shown.
  • You should also be aware of what other participants can see in the background and make sure there's nothing confidential in view.
  • By applying to join a meeting and turning on your camera, you agree to be seen. If you are unable to use your camera or prefer not to, you will normally still be admitted to the meeting, providing the host is satisfied about your identity.

Confidentiality

When you sign up to join a church group, you agree that you will not:

  • Share the password or joining details with anyone else
  • Record the meeting
  • Share any information given in confidence.

Safeguarding
Children under the age of 18 are not permitted to participate in general church meetings unless they do so in the presence of their parents or carers, ie logged in as a family. Should any meetings be set up specifically for children or young people, they will be governed by separate rules in line with the Church of England Safeguarding policies.

Conduct of Meetings

All meetings must be conducted in the same way as a physical meeting, having due regard for other participants.

  • The Zoom ‘host’ may not be the same person as the chair of the meeting.
  • If the meeting is formal, eg a PCC meeting, it will be conducted in accordance with Church of England document Church Representation Rules 2020.
  • The chair will conduct the meeting and, if appropriate, nominate someone to take minutes
  • For less formal meetings of church groups this may not be necessary
  • The host has access to the ‘Manage Participants’ screen, and can admit participants from the waiting room, mute or unmute them. He/she can also temporarily put them on hold, back in the waiting room or even remove them from the meeting should that be necessary
  • The host reserves the right to mute all participants and to switch off video cameras if necessary.

Communication by email

Email is another widely used route of communication by electronic means and the following guidelines should be followed.

  1. Refer to the PCC’s Data Protection policy before sharing or using personal information with others in a group. It is acceptable for groups to share data as long as all members agree.
  2. Consider using ‘blind copy’ when sending emails to a large group if people, especially if you are unsure whether all recipients agree to their details being shared.
  3. Before replying to a group email, consider whether to use ‘reply all’ or just reply to the person sending it. There may be some information that everyone needs to know, but other things may only need to be referred to the sender.
  4. PCC meetings may be conducted by email in accordance with Church of England document Church Representation Rules 2020.

Communication by social media

Posting on Social media should be done in accordance with the Church of England Social Media Community Guidelines:

https://www.churchofengland.org/terms-and-conditions/our-social-media-community-guidelines