Cyber Risk and Resilience

Article by CNG Editor

“We lost everything. We lost connection to our telephone systems, child services and important data dating back decades. It was so catastrophic that it took us about eight months to recover.”

Mary Lanigan, Leader Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. Evidence to Parliamentary National Security Strategy (Joint Committee) hearing 30th January 2023.

For councillors and council officers the management of place for the progress and protection of its people, natural and built environment is central to their purpose. Every council’s area collective sense of place and context is unique. However, one way of thinking about how to progress the management of place in your council is to think about progressing and protecting the 5 Capitals:

• Natural capital
• Social capital
• Human capital
• Built (including digital) capital; and
• Financial capital.

The strategy that individual councils choose to grow and thrive will vary. But part of any effective and efficient strategy and delivery of its essential services will be the digitalisation of its management of place and the essential services that the council deliver.

However, digitalisation of essential services and wider community stakeholders, creates a paradox, of both opportunities to grow the 5 Capitals, but also dangers of sustaining them. For councillors, whether in cabinet or not, and council officers, what was once something that could be delegated to IT or similar, is now central to strategy and achieving management of the place that they have the privilege to serve

So, the challenge for councillors and officers is to develop a deeper individual and shared understanding as well as competence of why and how digitalisation can enable the progress of your place. Whilst protecting your place and making it more cyber resilient to the risks that accompany digitisation.

This starts with councillors and officers understanding more deeply: what is going on here? So that the opportunities of digitisation can be seized, whilst managing the risks. Including understanding the value of information for investment in the 5 Capitals in your place and what must be enabled and protected to achieve your purpose and strategy.

This starts with training to provide the foundations to develop and most importantly implement effective strategy.