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£1.5m to support council cyber resilience

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A significant number of English councils have applied to the Local Government Association (LGA) for a share of £1.5m in Cabinet Office funding to address cyber security issues following a recent stocktake research exercise.

The LGA and a group of local authority cyber security professionals will review and assess bids during December, after applications closed on 30 November. They will prioritise those councils rated as red or amber-red, the bottom two of five categories, in their assessment.

Siobhan Coughlan, LGA programme manager, told a meeting of Socitm’s Local CIO Council (LCIOC) that the stocktake had indicated that councils are relatively well-protected in terms of technology and standards, with three-fifths gaining the top two green and amber-green rating. But only one in 10 received these positive ratings for training and awareness.

Coughlan said this showed IT professionals were rising to the cyber security challenge. “But they can’t sort this out on their own,” she told the meeting, held in London on 5 December. “Cyber security is everyone’s responsibility.”

Individual assessments have been sent to each council and will not be shared with anyone, with only aggregate findings from the stocktake published. For the small number of councils which were rated as red or amber-red, the LGA has contacted both their chief executives and their elected leaders to offer support in creating an improvement plan to help them address the issues identified for their council.

LCIOC members said this was an effective approach in drawing leaders’ attentions to the issues in their council, as well as to help engage them and to get the necessary work done.

LGA cyber security: https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/efficiency-and-income-generation/cyber-security

A longer account of the LCIOC meeting will shortly be available for Socitm members in the publications section of the website.

By SA Mathieson, editor of Socitm In Our View magazine

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