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Most councils allow employees to access social media. This is compared with only one-third of them allowing it two years ago, research by Socitm indicates.

All employees potentially have access to Twitter in 44 per cent of councils and only some employees in 54 per cent of councils, with only 2 per cent offering no access, according to the findings.

Facebook is accessible to a similar level, with all employees having access in 42 per cent of councils, some in 54 per cent and just 4 per cent having no access.

YouTube follows closely behind (41 per cent, 51 per cent and 8 per cent), with Flickr, Slideshare and Google Docs slightly less accessible.

The findings come from two identical surveys carried out in January 2012, one with chief information officers, heads of ICT and equivalent and a second with web, communications, customer services, service and policy managers. A similar survey published in 2010 was limited to IT managers, however.

The two surveys also show that 84 per cent of councils have a presence on Twitter and 73 per cent on Facebook.

Socitm said that its research reveals that social media has been incorporated into the activity of almost all councils, with blanket bans on access being replaced by more considered approaches.

Its report on the findings titled Social media goes mainstream – but in the right way? says that social media has the potential to play a much wider role in changing what councils do, and how they do it.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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