Ensuring the safety of the UK

Matt Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office, recently announced that the new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will be launching in October 2016.  Based in London, the NCSC hopes to ensure that citizens, public & private sector organisations and the UK’s critical national infrastructure remains safer online.

As part of the Government’s new National Cyber Security strategy, the NCSC will be a critical asset in the UK’s evolving national security climate.  As one of its first tasks, it will work with the Bank of England and produce advice for the financial sector for managing cyber security effectively, helping to ensure that “businesses of all shapes & sizes understand the threats and what they can do to mitigate them.

Researched Links:

techUK:  Why the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is important

Cyber Connect 2 InfoSecurity Europe 2016 Competition

techUK: Bill to tackle surge in cybercrime

ICO:  8 reasons small businesses should read our new IT security guide

BCS:  Auditors are humans - use their skill to improve your information security

If it works & is ‘secure’

Some terrorists don’t need guns & bombs

Not if, but when

Global trade requires global standards of security

It’s so essential, the Government is helping to pay for it

A cost that increases even faster than house prices in London

New Cyber Security Consultancy Services agreement

EU & NATO increase information sharing on cyber incidents

New CESG scheme meets growing demand for cyber security advice

CIPD joins forces with the DCMS to tackle cyber security in the workplace

Making Cyberspace “Cyber Safe” - New Government initiative for Cyber startups will drive innovation

MoD Implementation of Cyber Essentials Scheme

UK Digital Strategy - the next frontier in our digital revolution

Campaign targets UK’s youngest cyber criminals

Certified Cyber Security Consultancy - latest news

Top UK firms urged to get a cyber ‘health check’

£6.5m CyberInvest scheme to boost world-class UK cyber security research

techUK Responds to "Significant" Cyber Attack on TalkTalk

AXELOS:  Cyber security strategy of many UK law firms leaving them at risk of attack

Further related links from our partner AXELOS (a Cabinet Office joint venture company):

Cyber security strategy of many UK law firms leaving them at risk of attackA cyber resilience Q&A with Karoliina Ainge, Head of Estonian cyber security policy - Part 1 ~ A cyber resilience Q&A - Part 2 ~ Lack of cyber security awareness among employees putting UK organizations at risk ~ AXELOS:  What does good information security & cyber resilience look like?

Editor’s Note:  The links above represent only a small fraction of those available in our database on this topic.  Many more are available to subscribers by using the ‘Search’ facility.  The ‘popularity’ of this particular topic is one reason why we recently added an ICT and Data Management / Security section to the newsletter, to help highlight items relevant to this subject area.

Latest Research Paper:

Your Quick Guide to Seizing  
the Information Advantage

Done well, records and information management helps your organisation limit information risk, manage costs and lay the foundation for successful data analytics.

Most organisations have two priorities; the first is managing risk to satisfy regulators and protect against loss or breach, and the second is value extraction. The goal is to find the balance where threats are minimised, legal requirements are observed and information delivers insights that help meet customer and stakeholder expectation.

This balance point is your information advantage. Latest research from PwC and Iron Mountain indicates that very few organisations are able to achieve the information advantage.

Click here to find out more.

Prepare or ‘Meet thy Doom’ from 2018

Socitm suggests that councils should look at the information governance arrangements they currently have in place and prepare for the enforcement of the new regulations that are likely to be in place from 2018.  Supplier organisations should equally be planning for more demanding compliance enquiries from their customers in local public service delivery, and from the citizen/business users of those services too.

In its new briefing, Data protection: <Control><All><Delete>?, Socitm sets out details of the forthcoming changes and warns that compliance with some aspects of the new legislative framework could be difficult.  IT professionals are therefore advised to start work on getting their information governance functions prepared to update information strategies, so that they are compliant across the full information lifecycle from ‘create’ to ‘archive’ and ‘destroy’.

Researched Links:

SOCITM:  Councils should review information governance arrangements ahead of impending changes to data protection & online privacy laws

Editorial Commentary: Do you know your GDPR from your DPA 1998?

ICO:  Statement in response to Burns Commission report

Your reputation is at risk if you don’t keep data safe, ICO warns

ICO launches new data protection self-assessment tool for SMEs

Rights for the Future: ICO plan 2016-2019

ICO given new powers to audit NHS

Despite the ‘cheers’, there are real fears

The introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW) last week will push services caring for our elderly & disabled towards breaking point and a care provider crisis closer to reality without new social care funding being provided, council leaders say.  The LGA said councils support the new NLW – which came into force on 1 April 2016 – but warns it risks destabilising the care provider market by adding a significant cost to the social care system. Councils have already had to close a £5bn funding gap in social care since 2010 and are continuing to struggle with major ongoing pressures.

The LGA has previously estimated it could cost councils an absolute minimum of £330m in 2016/17 to cover increased contract costs to home care & residential care providers, but warn the true cost is likely to be much higher.

Previous LGA analysis indicated council tax rises to increase funding specifically for social care will bring in around £372m in 2016/17. The LGA is warning that, for some councils, all of this extra money will be swallowed up by covering the cost of the NLW.  For others, it will not be enough to cover increased care provider costs let alone cover the cost of other pressures within the system and protect social care services from any further cutbacks.

Researched Links:

LGA:  Funding needed to avoid National Living Wage pushing social care services closer to breaking point

LGA responds to NAO report on personalised commissioning in adult social care

LGA:  Majority of council tax will soon be spent on social care

Trouble is many of us stopped living healthily in middle-age!

That promised ‘cap on care‘ seems further away than ever

A matter of concern for most people (eventually)

If NHS needs +£8bn, what do LA’s need for social care?

Helping small businesses ‘tune-up’ their digital skills
Applications are now open for funding to support 10,000 businesses with their digital skills - thanks to a new partnership between Tinder Foundation and Google.   UK online centres can apply for up to £3,500 to help businesses (primarily sole traders & owners/employees of ‘microbusinesses’ with 0-9 employees) develop their digital skills in order to save time & increase turnover, using the Google Digital Garage.

UK online centres:  Funding to support businesses with digital skills

Google Digital Garage

SME Supplier Locator update...

UK Government and public sector spend with SME’s is continually on the increase and by 2020, it is the stated intent of Cabinet Office that £1 of every £3 spent on government contracts goes to SME’s. The past 5 years have seen government make a priority of getting money through its supply chain into the hands of SMEs, by both setting targets and introducing new procurement mechanisms.

Against this backdrop, the WiredGov Supplier Locator service has been developed specifically to embrace the SME Agenda and provide the ideal platform for SME’s to promote their services, solutions, accreditation and success stories directly to our ever increasing audience across all government and public sector verticals and Tier 1 suppliers.

Click here to find out more and view this week’s new arrivals to the SME Supplier Locator service. 

What ‘experts’ generated this scheme?

Despite awarding £2.8bn in subsidies to power companies the government’s scheme to ensure a secure energy supply for businesses & households in the UK is failing, according to a new report published by IPPR.   The report says the government’s ‘capacity market’ – an annual auction to guarantee energy supply (which was introduced in 2014) – is providing poor value for money for bill-payers, cuts across plans to reduce carbon emissions and is too focused on large power stations at the expense of more efficient & flexible ‘demand management’ technologies. 

Describing the current design of the capacity market as ‘not fit for purpose’, the report argues that the scheme needs fundamental reform. It recommends:

  • Splitting the scheme into two separate auctions for old and new generation capacity
  • Introducing an emissions performance standard that excludes the most polluting plants from the scheme
  • Levelling the playing field for technologies that can reduce demand at peak times.

The report finds that the current scheme is handing windfall payments to power stations that would be highly likely to be online anyway.   While in the 2014 auction, a third of contracts were awarded to plants which had indicated that they did not need subsidy to stay online.

Finally, the report shows that the capacity market is preventing the UK from moving to a more flexible & efficient system in which electricity demand is actively managed at peak times to avoid the need for new supply.  In a report earlier this month the National Infrastructure Commission estimated that new demand management technologies could save bill payers £8bn a year by 2030.

Researched Links:

IPPR: Government scheme to keep lights on is not fit for purpose

Smart energy could save £8bn a year

Will the lights go out?

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
88% of people miss common warning signs of a pensions scam - such as unusually high investment returns, cold calling & offers of free financial advice - despite feeling confident they can spot fraudsters’ tricks.  A new report from Citizens Advice, ‘Too good to be true’, reveals a mismatch between people’s confidence in spotting a scam and their ability to do so. 76% said they are confident they can identify a pension scam but just 12% were actually able to do so when a scam was presented to them.

CAB:  Consumers missing pension scam warning signs

An opportunity to improve the skills & confidence of your staff
Recently the MoD hosted the second annual Partnering with Defence conference.  Attendees were given an overview of how regular employer engagement is making a difference to the ‘defence people’ agenda.  The day focused on the value of military skills and the potential for that talent pool to make a significant contribution to the prosperity of a business. Opportunities for employers in all sectors to work with defence to ensure fair treatment for servicemen and women in the commercial environment were also explored.

MoD:  Partnering with Defence 2016: national employer conference shows growing commitment from employers to defence

DRM: Support for Britain's Reservists & Employers

Check your cover courtesy of Ofcom

People & businesses can check the quality & coverage of mobile & broadband services by postcode, using a powerful new interactive tool from Ofcom.  The Mobile and Broadband Checker uses coverage, availability and speeds data, collected directly by Ofcom from major communications providers. This has not been readily accessible to consumers and businesses before.

Ofcom has also published Smartphone Cities, a report comparing the mobile broadband & voice performance of the UK’s four national mobile providers - EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.  Testing was carried out in 5 cities across the UK - Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London and Norwich - between November and December 2015.

Researched Links:

Ofcom:  Get the local low-down on mobile and broadband …just put in a postcode

The Islanders have made their wishes clear
Argentina has announced a planned expansion of its maritime territory in the South Atlantic Ocean by 660,000 square miles.  This follows it’s submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in April 2009 to extend the outer limit of its continental shelf.  The CLCS has now concluded its study, although its recommendations are not yet public.  However, the UN’s press release makes it clear that the Rules of Procedure of the CLCS establish that it cannot consider areas where there are overlapping claims as to the continental shelf, or other disputes as to the delimitation of boundaries.
Researched Links:

FCO:  UK response to Argentina’s intention to extend its continental shelf

Falklands Islands: Argentina celebrates UN decision

Argentine military capability almost all gone

Editorial Comment:
Even if the Government ‘get the policy(s) right’, poor communication & implementation often limits their success

A selection of Parliamentary Committee reports recently published illustrates the fact that what a government aims to achieve with its policies may start out with ‘good intentions’, but all too frequently end up only being partially successful when it comes to implementation, often because of poor communication.

*’From taxi drivers refusing to take disabled people, to "disgraceful" accessibility at sports grounds, to pubs & clubs failing to provide disabled toilets’, a House of Lords Select Committee report, entitled 'The Equality Act 2010: the impact on disabled people', says practice in all areas must be improved.
PC&PE:  Government inaction is failing disabled people

*The Work and Pensions Committee has published the Government's response to its report on the Local welfare safety net.
PC&PE:  Gaps in welfare safety net still pose risk Committee says

*A Public Accounts Committee report concludes that companies carrying out health & disability assessments are still failing to meet acceptable performance standards.
PC&PE:  Assessments system still failing claimants & taxpayers

*A Work & Pensions Committee's report says the UK Government should follow the lead of ScotGov and conduct a broad review of burials, cremations & funerals, with a view to making changes that have a long-term impact on funeral inflation & reduce funeral poverty.
PC&PE:  State bereavement support "opaque & outdated" report finds

*With weeks to go before the introduction of the New State Pension, the Work & Pensions Committee says the realities of the impact of the policy on different groups have been poorly communicated to the point where even those who will be better off - and many will - do not necessarily know that.
PC&PE:  Communication failings leave new state pensioners uncertain ~ NAO:  The impact of state pension reforms on people with Guaranteed Minimum Pensions

Patient Safety Alert

Patient Safety Alert issued by NHS England around the prioritisation of general practice home visits.  When a request for a home visit is made, it is vital that general practices have a system in place to assess:

  • whether a home visit is clinically necessary; and
  • the urgency of need for medical attention.

NHS England:  Patient safety alert – prioritisation of general practice home visits


 More contributions to the EU Referendum

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;

Researched Links:

IPPR:  New research on EU migrants finds mixed picture on jobs, benefits and housing

DfE:  Nicky Morgan: leaving the EU risks a lost generation

PC&PE:  Government should focus on positive vision for future EU reform


Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the

Newsletter Archive

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:

The civil service has always prided itself on its mobility - but it has always been a myth, said David Walker on the network last week. Few people from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds come anywhere near the entry points for a Whitehall career, let alone make it to the top, and the man replacing Sir Nick Macpherson (educated at Eton and Oxford) at the Treasury illustrates this pattern.
Meanwhile, unless average earners are prepared to pay higher taxes, the future for public services looks bleak, says Tony Travers, of the London School of Economics. "It is delusional to believe the UK could have significantly higher public expenditure by only taxing the rich or by stopping tax avoidance. The public would have to assent to paying higher income tax, VAT or other big taxes," he says.

On the network
Bin the paper, kill off tick boxes – how to fix civil service appraisals

The favoured few in Whitehall must step aside for the less privileged
To address its social mobility problem, the civil service must accept some hard truths about background and attainment

End the costly, energy-sapping political games over Whitehall procurement

The UK cannot run Sweden’s welfare state with ​US tax levels
Unless average earners are prepared to pay higher taxes, the future for public services looks bleak

I take your 999 calls, but I don't know where you are

Volunteering kept me going but now austerity has killed my museum
I fought to keep my local museum open for the staff, volunteers, community, and children – but my voice was ignored

News in brief
• Children in care homes 'excessively criminalised'
• Manchester sex workers' rights case collapses after five years
• Libraries facing 'greatest crisis' in their history
• National living wage hits services already at breaking point - LGA