Lovelorn Falkirk workers are hitting the web

Web monitoring reports are revealing interesting trends
Web monitoring reports are revealing interesting trends
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Lonely local authority workers have been logging on to dating websites using council computers in a bid to find love.

Other council employees have used their work stations to visit discussion forums on Doctor Who, their favourite football team... and even pigeon racing.

The browsing habits of Falkirk Council staff was revealed in a Freedom of Information request seen by The Falkirk Herald.

It lists the top 1000 websites accessed from council computers from May 2010 until May 2011.

Many of the addresses listed are for pop-up advertisements that are unintentionally encountered when surfing the internet.

But the list still provides a snapshot of how council staff spend their time when not working.

Checking bank accounts and online shops were among the popular activities, along with browsing news sites.

Top of the list was search engine Google, with over 600,000 visits.

Among the more single-interest websites visited by council workers is gallifreybase.com, which was accessed 12,807 times over the space of a year.

It describes itself as “the world’s most popular Doctor Who forum”.

Plentyofish.co.uk - a “free online dating and matchmaking service for singles” - was visited a total of 21,159 times.

Football message boards also proved a hit with staff. Followfollow.com, a popular destination for many Rangers fans, was visited 42,267 times, whilst Kerrydalestreet.co.uk, a well-known Celtic forum, clocked up 27,293 hits.

Falkirk fans might be pleased to hear that a Bairns message board, OneFinFalkirk, was the single most visited football website, amassing 50,643 visits.

Pigeonbasics.org, a pigeon racing site, was meanwhile visited 11,146 times.

It is understood that only around three per cent of council employees have access to social media websites such as Facebook.

But the web giant - which recently announced plans to float on the stock market - was still visited 204,290 times by the few council staff allowed to view it.

A spokesman for Falkirk Council said that every staff member was required to sign an acceptable use policy that highlights what they can and cannot do with their internet access.

The council spokesman added: “At their manager’s discretion, staff have access to the internet and may visit recreational sites in their own time, for example lunchtime.

“All internet activity is monitored and software is in place to block visits to specific sites that could be potentially harmful or inappropriate.

“The information provided is misleading as it does not show when activity is taking place, nor does it show the true number of actual visits to specific sites.

“Some of the sites noted may not actually have been visited by staff but rather are pop up adverts that are linked to legitimate sites.”