Socitm blog

Local CIO Council discusses cybersecurity funding bid

By SA Mathieson, editor of Socitm In Our View magazine

The Local Public Services CIO Council has discussed a bid for government cybersecurity funding, made on behalf of members of the Local Government Cybersecurity Stakeholder Group, including Socitm and the Local Government Association.

The funding would enable the local government sector to carry out research to understand current cybersecurity arrangements. It would also put in place support and assistance for English local authorities using already-existing organisations, such as Socitm and the network of warning, advice and reporting points (Warps). The council discussed the bid at its meeting in London on 6 December.

If approved, the first year of what is planned as a three-year programme will focus on research and analysis of local authorities’ capabilities and weaknesses. In its second year, the programme would target councils and Warps in need of support and assistance, based on the initial research. It could also work on particular local government systems identified as being at risk.

For councils, the programme would aim to help them embed cybersecurity in corporate arrangements such as business continuity and civil contingency plans; make cybersecurity part of councils’ standard ‘business as usual’ work; put reporting and escalation plans in place; nominate a named senior officer and a lead member with responsibility for cyber security; and put in place appropriate training for all staff and councillors.

The programme would also aim to recruit all councils as active members of a Warp, which would themselves implement reporting and escalation plans along with training and assessment work. A ministerial decision on funding is expected early next year.

* A fuller account of the LCIOC meeting will be available for Socitm members in the publications section of the website in the New Year.