Local authorities should "embrace" social media instead of blocking staff from accessing Facebook and Twitter, according to a report from the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm).
They should regard social media as an important new tool which can cut the cost of contacting users, according to the report, which has been circulated by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
Socitm insight revealed that many councils are wary of social media, with 90 per cent restricting access in some way and 67 per cent banning their use, though some allow use during lunch breaks and after hours.
IT managers contacted for the report cited exposure to virus contamination, time wasting, reputational damage and bandwidth restrictions as possible problems caused by social media.
But the report said risks could be managed and the new media could help combat budget restrictions by providing an economical way of engaging citizens and delivering services.
Report author Chris Head said: "The term 'social' implies 'not related to work', but this is a fallacy.
"CIOs and heads of IT need to take the lead and educate colleagues on the organisation’s management team about the benefits of social media, as well as find ways to accommodate them appropriately and safely through the corporate infrastructure."