MHCLG puts £1m behind council cyber heath framework

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is looking to develop a cyber health framework for local authorities in England.

A statement explained that it will carry out research and build a prototype over the six months from late November. The £1 million project follows on from the government department’s previous assessment of council cyber security capabilities, which highlighted shortcomings from an incomplete perspective and no common understanding of what is involved.

The market notice explained that there is currently no shared baseline against which councils can measure their cyber health, which makes it difficult to secure buy-in for relevant initiatives from senior leaders.

Current standards and principles are not applicable or appropriate to every council, but MHCLG stated that it has identified tools developed for other sectors and would like to use these as a basis for the framework. They include the Scottish Cyber Resilience Framework and Self-Assessment Tool, and NHS Digital’s Data Security and Protection Toolkit.

The notice said that the framework should go beyond technical factors to cover the knowledge and behaviour of employees, relevant processes and how local authorities can determine their own level of cyber security.

“We expect re-use of existing work from other sectors to develop candidate toolkit, relevant to English councils through analysis of existing standards and tools, producing prototypes for validation in alpha, with continuation into private and public beta, subject to GDS assessment,” read the statement.

In September, the MHCLG’s Local Digital Collaboration Unit identified five areas for alpha projects to improve cyber security in local government, stating that it had begun to submit bids for funding of the work.

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