Ministry of Justice
Activating our human firewall during Covid and beyond
My name is Dawn Carrington, and I am Security Culture Change Lead in the Digital and Technology team.
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to do work that makes a positive impact in people’s lives. At the MoJ my role is essentially to activate our human firewall, by reinforcing positive security behaviours in our workforce. This helps to ensure the sensitive data we manage on behalf of the vulnerable people we serve doesn’t get into the wrong hands, and to keep ourselves and our colleagues safe.
Soon after I joined, the entire organisation was thrust into Covid lockdown, meaning online remote working quickly became the ‘new norm’. Like most organisations, this new way of working meant a change in our threat landscape, and security culture.
A security culture can be defined as "shared values and beliefs that interact with an organisation's structures and control systems to produce behavioural norms". It requires regular care from the top down, as it is not something that grows in a positive way by itself. An organisation’s leaders need to invest in it.
During the lockdown we’ve made the most of existing technologies and controls, using them in new ways, to enable those working from home to do so securely. We’ve produced a range of new good practise guidance on remote working. However, it's people who can make or break security.
What have we been doing
The changes brought about by Covid are profound, and the impact is similar for any organisation.
At the MoJ we’re implementing CPNI’s 5 E’s model to reinforce strong security behaviours in our people. To date we’ve delivered a wide range of interventions to increase positive behaviours, including:
- a welcome video for new joiners from the Chief Security Officer, Amie Alekna
- a 'Remote Working Security Briefing’ for our Senior Leaders, cascaded to staff
- interactive line manager training sessions
- all-staff ‘bitesize’ awareness sessions
- a leaflet outlining positive security behaviours
- a fun video message from our Chief Security Officer and her family, reinforcing key messages about secure working practices whilst at home
- security culture microsite, with resources, videos and training materials to increase knowledge of our policies among our workforce
Equally as important, we’ve launched a one-stop email address for security-related enquiries and incident reporting, which encourages more conversations earlier on about security.
It is vital that every organisation instils the concept that security belongs to everyone and reinforces positive security behaviours. At the MoJ, next, we’ll be:
- developing an ambitious Security Academy to establish and build good security practices across the MoJ, which we’ll be sharing across wider government.
- measuring our culture through a staff survey, so that we have something to track progress against.
- creating a network of security champions across the business to keep security awareness and behaviours high. Such networks are highly effective in my experience in embedding strong security behaviours in local teams.
As we continue to deliver the Security Culture Programme we’ll be looking for opportunities to celebrate our successes and to reward and recognise those who do the right thing.
Alongside this, we are working hard to enable good behaviours and avoid a ‘blame’ culture, recognising our users are the strongest link in our security story. It's important to create an environment where people feel safe to report incidents; the sooner we know, the sooner we can help.
Eighteen months of remote working has fundamentally changed the way that government, its employees, and crucially the flow of information around and between systems takes place.
The technology hasn't changed however the way people use it has and might now be working in a hybrid way. Every organisation on the planet must now address the cultural implications of this 'new norm’.
Latest News from
Ministry of Justice
Reforms bring hope to rehabilitated people still serving abolished indefinite sentences28/11/2023 15:15:15
Thousands of rehabilitated ex-prisoners serving long-since abolished indefinite sentences will become eligible to have their licence period terminated earlier as part of new reforms.
Permanent Independent Public Advocate to better support disaster victims28/11/2023 10:15:00
Victims of major disasters will be better supported as they rebuild their lives with a new and permanent Independent Public Advocate, the Lord Chancellor yesterday announced.
Consultation on tougher sentences for knife and domestic killers27/11/2023 15:15:15
A consultation looking at whether cowardly domestic killers should receive tougher sentences if they subject their victims to a campaign of coercive and controlling abuse, has been launched by the Lord Chancellor today.
APPEAL FOR MORE PEOPLE TO VOLUNTEER AS MAGISTRATES24/11/2023 12:50:00
The Judiciary of England and Wales and the Ministry of Justice are calling on people from all walks of life to be part of a new wave of volunteers, giving back to their local community and helping the magistracy better reflect the diversity of British society.
Vision for the future of civil and family courts and tribunals21/11/2023 10:15:00
The Lord Chancellor and senior judiciary yesterday launched a shared vision for the future of the civil and family courts and tribunals system.
Reflections on Transforming with Digital20/11/2023 13:15:00
Blog posted by: Kamal Bal, 16 November 2023 – Categories: collaboration, Our services, Transforming with Digital.
Thousands more people benefit from free legal support17/11/2023 13:15:00
More than 33,000 people have been helped to tackle family, debt and housing issues thanks to over £3 million of government investment in legal support.
Tripods: Building a Connected Delivery Profession16/11/2023 13:15:00
Blog posted by: Lianne Mellor, 14 November 2023 – Categories: delivery profession, Our services.