Belfast Telegraph

Surfing in the Civil Service... all on our time

By Adrian Rutherford

Civil servants are making tens of thousands of visits to Facebook, online shopping and holiday websites while at work.

In some cases sites such as Amazon, Sky Sports and Trip Advisor are being viewed far more often than departments' own pages.

In most cases, topping the list of the 200 most visited sites for civil servants was the search engine Google, which would be used for legitimate research purposes, along with internal email and web programmes.

But in other cases thousands of visits were made to sites including Littlewoods, Sporting Life and even LoveFilm. Department of Education staff made 741,350 visits to Amazon and 543,238 to Littlewoods. Staff at the Department of Finance and Personnel made 3,544,413 visits to Amazon and a further 422,519 visits to Sporting Life, a sports website which specialises in horse racing and gambling.

The Department of Employment and Learning had 1,041,625 visits to Amazon and 107,476 visits to Facebook.

Meanwhile, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure's top 200 sites included Littlewoods (185,173 hits), LoveFilm (57,212 hits) and Sporting Life (23,424 hits).

Civil Service guidelines also allow staff to use internet facilities for personal use during their own time, either before or after work, or during their lunch break.

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