Zdnet is reporting today that Westpac (Australia’s oldest bank) is not only unblocking sites like Facebook, but is “building its own social networking capabilities”. Interestingly, this follows the bank’s discovery that 1500 people on Facebook nominate that they work at Westpac, so they’re building a similar internal site on MS Sharepoint technology.

The Westpac CTO David Backley reveals a refreshing attitude to staff, technology and wasting time

“The rationale is that people will waste time if they want to waste time,” Backley says. “Most people who work for us will do the right thing, and see that others are doing the right thing. Many of these things can be self-managed.”

Backley said that there is nothing written in Westpac’s terms of employment or IT policy about what constitutes acceptable use of the technology.

“We don’t write into the policy how long they can spend having a cup of coffee either,” he said. “The only boundaries we have set is that the same rules apply online as they apply in the offline world.”

If only more of our institutions were this enlightened!