Trying to avoid being in a situation of playing ‘catch-up’

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond has formally launched the government’s new National Cyber Security Strategy, which will set out decisive action to protect the UK economy and the privacy of British citizens, while encouraging industry to up its game to prevent damaging cyber-attacks.

Almost doubling the funding commitments of the first strategy which ran from 2011, the new plan outlines:

  • how the UK will use automated defences to safeguard citizens & businesses against growing cyber threats
  • support the UK’s growing cyber security industry
  • develop a world-class cyber workforce
  • deter cyber-attacks from criminals and hostile actors
The Chancellor also emphasised the responsibility that CEO’s have to make sure their organisations are secure against cyber-attacks and the additional support government will give industry and wider society through the new National Cyber Security Centre.
Researched Links:

HM Treasury:  Britain’s cyber security bolstered by world-class strategy

Chancellor speech: launching the National Cyber Security Strategy

techUK:  Government Releases National Cyber Security Strategy

SOCITM:  National Cyber Security Strategy provides welcome boost for ongoing commitment of UK local authorities says Local CIO Council

Cyber criminals are phishing to ‘land’ victims

ICT security costs money, but lack of it costs even more

My passwords are as old as I am (almost): a brief reflection on a LinkedIn hack

Recognising most ICT managers are not computer security experts

Constant threat is the new norm for digital organisations; even charities!

Some terrorists don’t need guns & bombs

Not if, but when

Defence be classified as part of the Armed Services?

Global trade requires global standards of security

The ‘problem’ grows every day

The Cold War heats up as the cyber threat increases

You may not even realise you have been hacked

Only a ‘team effort’ can provide 24/7 cyber vigilance


Public Sector e-Invoicing Survey Report 2016
Benefits being recognised but not implemented

The public sector is evolving, and this latest Survey Report highlights that the benefits of e-invoicing are understood by finance teams.

However, it also shows that due to lack of IT resources, senior management are not making this a priority. Therefore, the efficiency and cost savings are being ignored, at best, or even compounded by further processing costs.

With the ever increasing rise in PDF invoice traffic (now over 80%) and the push to pay suppliers in ever shorter time periods, resource heavy and inefficient processes are still prevalent.

At the same time, survey results indicate that supplier adoption is seen as a barrier to e-invoicing.

Click here to find out more and download the full survey report and analysis.

Should they also consider the risk of Russian hackers trying to influence strike votes?
An independent review of electronic voting for industrial action ballots has been announced by the government.  The review has been launched following an agreement to investigate the implications of electronic voting methods in the Trade Union Act 2016.
Researched Links:

BEIS:  Government announces review into electronic voting for industrial action ballots

TUC: The Trade Union Bill heads for a crunch date in the Commons

TUC welcomes calls for extension of online balloting

Majority of British people say electronic balloting to vote for strikes is appropriate

Blog posted by Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner (31/10/16)

The government has now confirmed that the UK will be implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  

The major shift with the implementation of the GDPR will be in giving people greater control over their data.  This has to be a good thing. Today’s consumers understand that they need to share some of their personal data with organisations to get the best service.  But they’re right to expect organisations to then keep that information safe, be transparent about its use and for organisations to demonstrate their accountability for their compliance.

The ICO is committed to assisting businesses & public bodies to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond.  As early as January 2016, we met with organisations to better understand the challenges they will face to comply with the law, and we’ve already started to publish work to help with that, from our 12 steps to take towards compliance to our recent privacy notices code of practice which includes GDPR detail

Within the next month, we’ll publish a revised timeline setting out what areas of guidance we’ll be prioritising over the next 6 months.  As ever, everything will be published on the ICO website, and we’ll flag updates on twitter and through our e-newsletter.

In the meantime, anyone looking to get up to speed should start by reading our overview to GDPR, which sets out the key themes of the regulation to help organisations understand the similarities with the existing UK Data Protection Act, and of course some of the new requirements.
Researched Links:

How the ICO will be supporting the implementation of the GDPR

ICO:  Cyber security – what does my organisation need to do? Answers from questions at our webinar

Garreth Cameron, ICO, Data Protection in the Digital Age

There is no ‘Soft’ option; the ICO will come down ‘Hard’ on non-compliance

Prepare or ‘Meet thy Doom’ from 2018

Without accurate & timely data how does one know what needs doing and what has been achieved (or not)

With the launch of NHS England’s Mental Health 5 Year Forward View Dashboard, Paul Farmer, CE of Mind and chair of the NHS England Mental Health Taskforce, outlines why it marks a crucial first step in delivering the data & transparency so vital to the 5 Year Forward View for Mental Health.

Sadly, in many areas of mental health there is a significant lack of accurate & timely reported data to enable people to fully understand what services are available across the country and how well these are serving the needs of local people.  It must be a priority for NHS England to work together with commissioners and providers to fix this fast.

That’s why NHS England’s mental health dashboard, published for the first time on 27 October, is such a welcome first step to helping to track progress.  It brings some much needed openness & transparency to what has historically been a fairly opaque landscape.  And over time it will be a critical tool to see if the current rhetoric around commitments to improving mental health really do match the reality on the ground.
Researched Links:

NHS England:  Data transparency supports the drive to transform mental health

NHS Confederation: Mental health dashboard shows providers making progress despite huge financial pressures - (NHS England:  Harnessing technology to support service innovation)

NHS England:  A network to support the new models of care with information governance

New ratings published for mental health & maternity

Thousands to benefit from kick-start of mental health services transformation

Trust, control, transparency & ethics crucial to widespread use of data

AS: Shocking variation of hospital care for people with dementia exposed

A healthier outcome which could be self-financing

Will they extensively pilot IT in Carter’s ‘Model Hospital’?

Why has it taken so long to introduce?

Technology can help analyse historical health data to ‘locate’ problem areas

Beyond good intentions - The need to move from intention to action to manage information   

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. 

The problem is getting worse by the day

The LGA's new 'State of the Nation' report on the adult social care funding crisis reveals that just 11% of the £129bn health & care budget is spent by councils on adult social care, with the remainder on health services.  A poll, carried out by Populus Data Solutions for the LGA, reveals that 62% think adult social care services should receive a much higher proportion of health and care funding.  The findings follow new analysis by the LGA which estimates adult social care services face a potential funding gap of at least £2.6bn.

The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England & Wales, says the only way to deal with the significant pressures facing both adult social care and the NHS is to invest more in services that help to keep people out of hospital and to stay in their communities, which is what the vast majority of people want.

This is at a time when record numbers of people find themselves unable to leave hospital due to a lack of care in the community and increasing numbers of people, unable to get care, are having to turn to stretched A&E departments instead. 

'State of the Nation' is a collection of essays from senior sector leaders & experts which sets out the scale of underfunding in adult social care, and the consequences this is having on people, providers & workers and the NHS.
Researched Links:

LGA Poll:  Social care should receive greater funding

LGA response to PwC survey on health & social care system

The King’s Fund comments on the LGA’s new social care report

ESRC:  Friends over 50 living together - a rising trend

NHS England:  How blurring the lines between health & social care can benefit local communities

PC&PE:  Adult social care underfunding is increasing the strain on A&E

Is the answer to raise taxes on everyone during their working life?

Sorting out NHS & Social care is on a par with Brexit; All are critical to our financial future

Kicking them out is not showing a ‘duty of care’
As highlighted in a BBC 2 Victoria Derbyshire programme and a BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours‎ broadcast last week, the CQC know there are cases where relatives have experienced visiting restrictions, or their loved ones being forced to leave against their wishes, after raising concerns with those in charge of running care homes.  In response to these concerns, and in partnership with partners, CQC have developed focused information to help people feel better informed and make sure providers are very clear about their obligations.

CQC:  Information for people on their visiting rights in care homes

Listening is a great way to ‘learn’ what the real issues are

A new listening programme to find out more about the experiences of people with dementia and their carers starts in England.  The DH’s listening programme will include different ways of gathering people’s views & experiences, both in person & online.

The first part of this work is an online survey for people who have been diagnosed with dementia since November 2014 and people who provide unpaid care for them.  The survey, which is open until 31 January 2017, asks about people’s experiences of dementia diagnosis, support and awareness.  It has been produced in consultation with people with dementia, their carers and our partner organisations.

As well as the online survey, local dementia groups will be able to discuss the questions in groups (or one to one) and feed the results back to the department. To help with this, DH have published guidance on holding discussions with people with dementia & carers.  DH want to make sure that they hear from as many people as possible, particularly those from diverse communities and those whose voices aren’t often heard.  DH will be organising specific discussion groups with these communities.

This survey, and DH’s future plans for the programme, will help them to assess what difference the Dementia Challenge 2020 Implementation Plan is having and where further improvements to the delivery of services & support may be needed at a local level.
Researched Links:

DH:  Listening to people with dementia and their carers

BHF:  Researchers investigate cause of stroke linked to dementia

‘Prevention’ is partially down to our own behaviour

‘Reassurance’ is essential part of support

‘Reassurance’ is key to their state of mind

Improvements start with small steps
NHS England has announced 6 maternity pilot sites to drive the design of new approaches to midwifery supervision, helping to improve quality of care for women and their babies.  The pilot sites will pioneer a new model of midwifery supervision in England ahead of legislative changes due in Spring 2017.
Researched Links:

NHS England:  Six maternity pilot sites to shape midwifery supervision and help improve maternity services

Protecting our ‘future’

The sad loss of babies / children still happens for some on a daily basis

The birth of better services?

There still remains the heartache of a decision following a positive test

Following a clinical recommendation by experts at the UK National Screening Committee, a new non-invasive prenatal test for Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes, which is safer for women and their babies, has been approved.

Women will be offered a safer screening test as an alternative to the invasive tests from 2018.  A simple blood test will be offered which is then used to check for DNA fragments of these chromosomal syndromes.  This additional test could reduce the number of women who choose to have an invasive diagnostic test which carries a risk of miscarriage.
Researched Links:
DH:  Safer screening test for pregnant women
Helps them feel they have ‘a purpose in life’
New plans to help more people with long term conditions reap the benefits of work and improve their health have been published in the Work, Health and Disability Green Paper
Researched Links:

DWP:  Work & health plan to help disabled people into employment

NHS England supporting new trials to help disabled people and those with long term conditions into work

Help & encouragement can speed return

Working towards better mental health

It’s not a ‘domestic’, it’s a ‘crime’

Local authorities can now bid for a share of a £20m fund to support victims of domestic abuse.  This new fund will be used to increase refuge spaces and other accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence.  From ensuring that victims have somewhere safe to live & recover, to providing education, employment and life skills training, the fund will support a range of services to help victims rebuild their lives.

New Priorities for Domestic Abuse Services’ are also being published, setting out how local authorities should be responding to domestic abuse in a collaborative and effective way.
Researched Links:

CLG:  New £20m fund now open to help victims of domestic abuse

Too often the Abuser ‘convinces’ the Abused not to complain

Victims include male AND female

Small loans don’t need ‘big’ banks
Small businesses struggling to access finance from big banks will be matched with alternative finance options, under a new government scheme.

HMT:  New matchmaking service for small businesses looking for finance

Problem is, money can ‘infect’ one with ‘greed’
HMRC has a special unit to collect tax from high net worth individuals who are those with assets of £20m+.  While this special unit gives it a better understanding of the tax affairs & behaviours of these taxpayers it needs to evaluate what approaches are the most effective and to understand the outcome it achieves.
Researched Links:

NAO: HMRC’s approach to collecting tax from high net worth individuals

HMRC: Updated code of conduct will discourage number of avoidance schemes

UK tax gap falls to 6.5% as HMRC targets the dishonest minority

HMRC protects more than £900m through 10th win against NT Advisors

Taxman brings in £bns of tax upfront from tax avoiders

Tough new sanctions announced for offshore tax evaders

Tax avoidance enablers to face tough new penalties

HMRC consultation: Proper resourcing is needed to tackle tax avoidance, says ARC union

HMRC wins blockbuster tax avoidance cases

Strengthening the Tax Avoidance Disclosure Regimes for Indirect Taxes and Inheritance Tax

PM: Companies to be liable for employees who facilitate tax cheating

Taxman seizes more than £2bn from tax avoidance scheme users

Tackling tax fraud: how HMRC responds to tax evasion, the hidden economy & criminal attacks

ARC cautiously welcomes Chancellor’s £2.1bn reinvestment package in HMRC while voicing concern over 15% departmental budget cut

The more they ‘evade’ the bigger the cuts will have to be

Have you tried getting through to HMRC on the telephone recently!!!!!!!

£1 coin won’t be ‘round’ much longer
A new campaign to support retailers & other major businesses to prepare for the historic new £1 coin has been launched.  A new website provides businesses with materials aimed to support them in their preparation for the new coin, which comes into circulation in March 2017.

HM Treasury:  Pound won’t be ‘round’ much longer

Making city cycling safer
The DfT’s THINK! campaign states that a third of collisions between cyclists & lorries happen at a left turn, many due to blind spots.  Now, one start-up company is about to use space technology to eliminate the issue of blind spots in lorries, buses and other large vehicles altogether.  SeeCycle is developing a system that makes cyclists more visible to HGVs & buses by creating a ‘virtual protective field’ around the vehicle, which alerts the driver when a cyclist moves into their blind spot.
STFC:  Satellite technology protects cyclists from large vehicle black spots
A capable BME female might be even better!
While 14% of the population identifying as black & minority ethnic, only 1.5% of directors in FTSE100 boardrooms are UK citizens from a minority background.  More than half of the FTSE 100 Boards are exclusively white.

BEIS:  The ethnic diversity of UK boards: launch of the Parker review

CBI: Parker Review recommendations - Ethnic diversity of UK boards

Thank God the technology didn’t exist when my own children were vulnerable! (Editor)

Many young people are aware of the risks of sending naked selfies, but often choose to do so anyway because they see it as a fun & normal part of relationships, a study to be highlighted at the ESRC Festival of Social Science has shown.

The report found that children, some as young as 12, are sharing these photos - and for many of the study group, consisting of people who had shared naked photos under the age of 18, it was a natural way of exploring their sexuality and something they did with a trusted partner.  Some however were coerced & threatened, often by strangers they had met online. 

The research findings of 'Self-Produced Images - Risk Taking Online' (SPIRTO) demonstrate the difficulties police, parents and schools face in distinguishing between normal, healthy behaviour and illegal abuse.  

Rather than making a rash decision, most of the participants carefully considered whether or not to send a naked photo of themselves.  Most were aware of the risks, and often took steps to mitigate them, such as not including their face in the photo, or any clear identifying marks such as tattoos.  Many kept compromising photos of the other person as a sort of mutually assured destruction.

In the majority of cases, naked selfies were not shared beyond the intended recipient.  The consequences of sending the images were not always absolutely catastrophic, but they were for some people.  Currently there aren't any guidelines to help police & social workers deal with cases where naked selfies taken by children have been shared without their permission.  Police in the UK have to investigate if there is a suggestion another person may be involved, and it is enormously resource demanding for the police. 

The results of this study will be presented as part of the Festival of Social Science invite-only event 'Let's talk about sexting', at Walpole Hall, in Edinburgh, on 11 November at 10.00.  You can find out more on this topic by watching the video series.
Researched Links:

ESRC:  Why are young people sharing nude selfies?

Child sexual exploitation the new “social norm” in some areas

NSPCC:  Sexting

Selfies: the naked truth - Thinkuknow

Sexting scare: 6 sexting myths busted - Telegraph

Sexting | Childline

CEOP - YouTube

Thrill-seekers taking ‘storm selfies’ are risking lives

An issue that can be alleviated but never eradicated!

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England has responded to the dare2care strategy to tackle sexual abuse.  “I welcome Sarah Champion’s dare2care strategy which rightly puts the spotlight on help for parents, professionals and schools to help tackle abuse and protect children. …..

“I would like to see more Children’s Houses established, based on the Icelandic Barnahus model, which have been shown to increase identification of victims and reduce trauma on victims by providing therapy, evidence gathering and medical support all under one roof. Schools also have a critical role to play in teaching children about respectful, healthy relationships, including understanding of consent.”
Researched Links:

Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, responds to dare2care strategy to tackle sexual abuse

Should have been done years ago

Impacts on all parts of UK

‘Root & Branch’ reform is so difficult to achieve despite the best of intentions

If it wasn’t for Grexit and Tunisia this would be front page news

Somehow the term ‘The Great & the Good’ no longer seems to be appropriate for our ‘Civic Leaders’

Mutual support & information sharing is good, but it does not obviate ‘individual’ responsibilities

An invisible ‘killer’

Think tank IPPR has unveiled a new plan to help the Mayor & government radically cut air pollution and boost Londoners health.  A cut in London air pollution to bring it to within legal limits could give Londoners up to an extra 1.7 months’ life expectancy.  Air pollution in London is a health emergency and is the second most significant social factor in someone’s health after smoking.

IPPR builds on the measures recently proposed by the Mayor of London for his current term by arguing that London will also need a radical plan for after 2020 to comply with legal limits.  This plan will need support from London’s government & communities and from across the political spectrum, complemented by action from national government.

IPPR propose that the Mayor of London should:

  • Phase out diesel cars in inner London by the end of the next mayoral term
  • Consider a charge on all non-zero emissions cars in inner London by 2025, with action on buses, vans and lorries too
  • Phase out diesel taxis by 2025
  • Make sure the revenues raised by road charging are reinvested into the public transport network, car sharing, cycling, walking and other sustainable options
Researched Links:

IPPR:  Londoners could live nearly two months longer with new air pollution plan

Is the answer no diesel & electric cars 2030 at the latest?

Poor air quality is not something that you can always ‘see’

Is WAG seeking to ‘overturn’ the vote/wishes of the Welsh majority
The Counsel General, Mick Antoniw said last week:  “……. I intend to make an application to be granted permission to intervene in the proposed appeal before the Supreme Court. My intention is to make representations about the specific implications of the government’s proposed decision for Wales.

WAG:  Statement by the Counsel General: Intervention in Appeals to the Supreme Court - Article 50 & EU Exit

WAG:  Statement by the FM: High Court Ruling on UK Government triggering Article 50


 More contributions following EU Referendum

Still a ‘hot topic’, with widely spread views, for those who put fingers to keyboard in order to ‘share their views’:

Researched Links:

10DS:  High Court ruling on Article 50: statement

WAG:  Statement by the FM: High Court Ruling on UK Government triggering Article 50

WAG:  Statement by the Counsel General: Intervention in Appeals to the Supreme Court - Article 50 and EU Exit

NIESR: Fiscal Policy after the Referendum

NIESR: UK and Europe: what next?

ScotGov:  Hard Brexit hit for Scottish exports

ScotGov:  EU funds guaranteed

ESRC:  How the UK might leave the EU: new report


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

PC&PE:  Too soon to judge EVEL - extended trial period required

PC&PE:  Lack of clarity in Wales Bill risks litigation & further legislation


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:

Could a robot do your job? It's question we posed to one local government officer, following a report which says more than 850,000 public sector jobs could be lost to robots by 2030. Her answer was, empathically, no.
"Automation has already happened to the extent to which local government and the ageing infrastructure it has can provide it," says Inara Khan, who branded the report "patronising and unrealistic". For now, it might be wise sticking to robot vacuum cleaners.
Meanwhile, the furore around the third runway at Heathrow continues, but, as Colin Cram asks, is it too little too late? After all, the first plans for expanding the UK’s airport capacity were produced in 1971 – 35 years ago.
"The UK government estimates that Heathrow expansion could boost the economy by at least £61bn over 60 years, which would put the the cost of the indecision into the billions – lost income that could have been spent on other infrastructure, so desperately needed in the UK," says Cram.

Also on the network

Britain's best new train stations – in pictures

Britain's best new train stations – in pictures
With the number of passengers travelling by train set to double in the next 25 years, Network Rail is spending almost £27bn on new track and stations. Here are some of the stations that have opened since 2015

I worked in local government – show me a robot that could do my job better

I worked in local government – show me a robot that could do my job better
Some public sector jobs seem like they can be automated, but they need the personal touch. Which robot would know the names of everyone’s children?

Want to get on in the civil service? Brexit is now the only game in town

Want to get on in the civil service? Brexit is now the only game in town
Long and tough Brexit negotiations could make or break civil service careers, says former Foreign Office boss Sir Simon Fraser

News in brief
• Aberdeen City Council issues bonds worth £370m
• DCLG must 'speed up' sale of public land to build new homes
• Gus O'Donnell to kick off PACAC's civil service inquiry
• Government's cyber security strategy gets a refresh
• North faces housing crisis unless powers are devolved, says thinktank
• Tory councils warn of £600m black hole after demise of education bill