Local authorities should get on with securing the UK’s public sector IT rather than waiting for central government, according to speakers at the Local Public Service CIO Council (LCIOC) on 8 December in London.
As part of a discussion on the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy, one attendee pointed out that Scotland, Wales and every region of England has a Warp (warning, advice and reporting point) where public and voluntary sector organisations discuss information security threats. Those in north-west England and Wales already involve local NHS organisations and this could be extended to other Warps.
Those at the meeting felt that councils should not wait for central government, but get on with building links to other public and voluntary sector organisations. This can be through Warps and also through better communication with senior leaders – making it important to translate security advice out of geek-speak, as one participant said.
The government plans to spend £1.9 billion over five years on cyber security. Speakers argued that the budget should include an e-learning package that can be used by staff across the public sector, rather than every council buying its own training. It should also include central support capability for organisations that suffer attacks and white-listing and testing services for software and apps. One speaker said it would be criminal if the central spending went only on positioning and education.
As well as information security the LCIOC also discussed how local authorities can improve their performance on open data and smart places, and saw a presentation from Brunel University on why truly transformational work has to involve more than websites and online transactions.