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Cyber, what has Socitm ever done for us?

Close up of people working

Well, quite a lot actually, over a long period. 

Written by Mark Brett, Socitm Honorary Life Member / Pro bono Cyber advisor 

Cyber security isn’t new. It’s referred to as information security, information assurance, information governance, information management and cyber resilience.  

It’s really about network security, including the internet, affecting both corporate networks and endpoint devices (PCs, laptops, tablet, phones etc.). 

Ultimately, it’s just about keeping your information safe and secure, especially all that personal information. Before I drill into the Socitm work….. 

If you do not wish to read any further at least have a look at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Here, you can drill down to all sorts of useful stuff, including:  

Right, back to Socitm. As long ago as 2008, Socitm has facilitated the Local Public Services Chief Information Officers Council (LCIOC). From the outset, information security has been a core theme, championed by myself, Geoff Connell, Martin Ferguson and latterly William Barker, through his Digital Ethics work. Nadira Hussain and Jos Creese have also contributed to the work. 

Nationally, in 2017, through the LCIOC, with input from the Local Government Association (LGA, as an advisory member to the LCIOC) and at the request of the NCSC, we stood up a Technical Advisory Group, which has become the Cyber Technical Advisory Group (C-TAG) . The LGA has been pivotal through Owen Pritchard’s team in providing core funding to support the C-TAG work.

Some more about C-TAG

It has representation from:

  • all the Socitm Regions
  • the Regional Warning, Advice & Reporting Points (WARPs)
  • the devolved administrations
  • the Cabinet Office
  • and others, including the Public Services Network team, policing, National Health Service and the Ministry of Defence.

C-TAG has now become an effective collaboration conduit, under the leadership of Geoff Connell. It reports back into the LCIOC and the LGA sponsored Local Government Digital Committee and can therefore promote the strategic and operational role of cyber resilience in transformational change.  

Welsh WARPs

Back in 2006, the Socitm Heads of ICT established the Welsh WARP, which through the National Local Authority WARPs (NLAWARP) has gone from strength to strength. Over the past 4 years, the Welsh Government has supported the Welsh WARP through Socitm Wales. They have established a 24/7 ‘fusion cell’ support available to all local authorities in Wales.

This fusion cell is a unique capability, ensuring that Welsh local authorities can get advice and support whenever they’ve had a cyber incident. This support during “The Golden Hour” has already helped numerous councils and other public sector organisations to liaise with the NCSC and the Police Regional Organised Crime and Cyber Units (ROCCUs).  

The Welsh Government’s foresight and innovation through their cyber programme has made a difference as recently experienced by Anglesey Council.

We continue to work very closely with the NCSC who give us amazing support. I won’t name names for obvious reasons, but the two that look after the stakeholder engagement in England and the devolved administrations have made a huge difference to the sector.  

So, what has Socitm ever done for us on cyber? 

Quite a lot, through support, research, and advice, and most importantly doing what Socitm had always done best, being a catalyst for organisations to collaborate, discuss and transform.  

It was our previous LCIOC Chair, Dylan Roberts, who coined the words: “Simplify, Standardise, Share and Sustain”, principles that underpin Socitm’s work on cyber. I’m grateful, I’ve had the chance to pen a few words and thank all of those as a team, including those in the C-TAG core, who work together through Socitm on cyber, resilience and ethics to help keep us all safe.