Surfing council worker loses job

You'd better think twice before logging onto that Patience site...

Surfing the Net at work could get you the sack, as council worker Philip Cooke found last week.

Cooke resigned from his position as director of Leisure at Gloucester City Council after a disciplinary process was instigated when he was found "misusing the Internet" at work.

Cooke, who had an exemplary 15-year work record with the council, was found to be accessing the Net for personal use by internal monitoring systems used by the council to keep an eye on staff's use of the Internet. No details of the sites Cooke accessed were given, although Council leader Kevin Stephens claims "there was sustained access" over a period of months.

Stephens accepts people may see the judgement as a bit strong. "It may be harsh but we are a public body using tax-payers' money and we expect the highest standards of probity and integrity from all our staff," he said. Strict guidelines in the council dictate the Net should only be used for work-related purposes.