Monday, 16 December 2013

Cyber Security - Working in Partnership to Deliver Social Value and Economic Prosperity

With joint working at its heart, 2013 has been a pivotal year for cyber security reform across Government; with directives including the setup of National Cyber Crime Unit, the Cyber Crime Reserve Unit, Oxford’s global cyber capacity centre and the Cyber Information Sharing Partnership.

The 2013 Annual Cyber Security Summit took place on the 26th November at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference and bought together over 400 senior security professionals, 15 high profiled speakers and a range of suppliers in the field to address these transformative reforms from both operational and strategic perspective.

The Summit took place on the 2 year anniversary of the Government Cyber Security Strategy and the day of the release of the UK cyber Security Standards Research Report by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. With these timely announcements, and a year of renovation, the day was greatly anticipated by those in attendance. The day’s proceedings were started by the annual Summit chair Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the Commons Science and Technology Committee.

The opening keynote address was delivered by Neil Kenward, Deputy Director, for Cyber Programme Management, Cabinet Office. Neil covered the full breadth of the Governmental reforms from the perspective of the four strategic objectives which he explained to be cyber safety; cyber resilience, influencing the international agenda and governance and finally improving research and skills, all within the banner of maximising economic and social value. Notably, £860million has been put forward for this long term project into cyber security and results according to Neil include an increased situational awareness by working more with GCHQ and improvements to cyber policing. Furthermore, he announced that a new public awareness campaign and roll out of the Computer Emergency Response Team will be going ahead in early in 2014, which paints for an exciting year ahead in UK cyber security.  Andy Archibald, Head of the newly created National Cyber Crime Unit with the National Crime Agency covered the law enforcement perspective and their capability, echoing sentiments raised by Neil Kenward, including the need for international collaboration and cooperation to create a model to de-conflict cybercrime. Furthermore, he went further to say a proactive global response to cybercrime its necessary to understand and react effectively to “footprints in the digital world”.

Mark Brown, Director – Risk (Information Security), EY who was also the headline sponsor for the day explored new approaches to new threats. What was particularly insightful about his presentation was his industry perspective, highlighting three crucial drivers for implementing cyber security. These were: protecting the bottom line, corporate and customer reputation. He further highlighted the universal problem now was that despite a universal understanding of the importance of cyber security the resource challenge in delivering this agenda was still a set back. Primarily, the skills gap in the UK. He shared that there has been a 20 year decline in computing and engineering graduates and this needed to increase to meet the demand for security professionals. This was developed by the Cyber Security Challenge session delivered by its CEO, Stephanie Daman who highlighted the current obstacles for entry. These included a lack of attractiveness of cyber security careers, gender differentiation, and the “disconnect” between university syllabus and industry jobs. She also covered potential talent pool investment methods, especially bearing that the cyber security market is set be worth £3.4 billion by 2017. Finally, Richard Cox, CIO of Spamhaus delivered an enlightening presentation into their recent DDoS attacks and covered from his perspective areas that require improvements including dealing with victimless crimes.  Following lunch, further networking and interactive, supplier led seminars into the latest trends, practice and innovation techniques, took place. In the networking sessions we were delighted to see contacts being renewed, ideas being developed and future partnerships forged.

The afternoon plenary commenced with Andrew Blyth, Professor of Information Security and Computer Forensics at the University of South Wales who covered Advanced Evasion Techniques and the motivational reasons behind cybercrime. He explored his recent study findings which showed that 50% of attacks were getting through the Intrusion Prevention System when testing systems, and highlighted the issues and problems that still needed to be addressed. Furthermore, he covered methods and ability to manipulate protocols of AETs being used in the wild which they logged across their machine, and accounted for 50,000 attacks per day. Andrew’s insightful session was followed by sponsor, James Sherlow from Palo Alto who continued on the theme of modern day malware and what today’s defences are looking like and what they can look like in the future. Finally, the informative summit closed with a keynote from Andrew Tyrer, Lead Specialist – Digital from the Technology Strategy Board, who covered off the numerous competitions, grant funding options available to the sector in network and digital security. He shared insight into the Severn Valley Cyber Launchpad funding competition which closes on the 8th January and the £4 million grant for remote workers and securing their devices whilst also exploring innovations across the marketplace. Finally, he shared insight into the £5,000 Innovation vouchers scheme for organisations to bid for to use as a method to go out to market to get advice around cyber security to secure both Government and businesses.

Thank you to all those involved with the Cyber Security Summit and we look forward to welcoming you to the 2014 Summit in the Autumn.

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Friday, 29 November 2013

New Funding for Greater Emergency Services Collaboration

On Tuesday 19th November 2013 the inaugural Blue Light Innovation Conference took place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and attracted an even spread of 400 senior delegates from the police, ambulance and fire and rescue services.

The energy on the day from delegates, speakers and suppliers was infectious and made for lively debates during the question and answers sessions, networking breaks and interactive seminars. Bearing the recent Knight Review and the Government joint working agenda, debates on the date centred on how cross agency collaboration and effective leadership can improve performance and efficiency.

The day kicked off with a keynote from the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Rt Hon Damian Green MP who delivered a charming and insightful speech into maximising joint working, and innovative strategies he was putting in place to improve to blue light service delivery. The Minister stressed that that joint working makes business and operational sense and came with his “cheque book”. The Minister announced a £50 million police innovation fund for 2014/15 to incentivise collaboration between blue light services to deliver further efficiency. Further still, he announced he will be giving a £20million fund for Police and Crime Commissioners as a precursor to the innovation fund from now. He also shared how the Department for Communities and Local Government will be putting forward £75million fund to support transformation change in the fire service in 2015/16; giving a total of £195million for the blue light services over 3 years to take forward joint working, saving money and improving services for the public.

Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher followed the Minister’s session sharing with the attendees the successes achieved in the first hour of response to a complex incident as a result of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) that he chairs and detailed process improvements; findings from the JESIP blue light survey and future joint training with the National College of Policing NARU and LRF partners. This session was followed by a lively questions and answers session mainly exploring the Ministerial funding announcements and the specifics into achieving successful joint working. The networking breaks throughout the day were inspirational with relationships being made, contacts renewed and passions for improvement discussed. The busy exhibition, full of key suppliers, also played an important part in the day’s success, facilitating networking and an opportunity for delegates to find solutions to meet their needs.

Following the break, Merseyside Police, Fire and Rescue presented their work as a case study and discussed their cross service collaborative Joint Command and Control Project. Areas discussed included governance; regional service demands and building a new site to meet operational requirements. This was followed by Paul Nicholson, Assistant Director of IM&T at North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust who covered the 111 service, new commissioning structures, triage system (NHS Pathways) across the NHS, changes to ambulance service delivery and the Single Point of Access to joint emergency services working with urgent care units. What was particularly clear from this session is that there is still some way to go in merging Ambulance Services with Police and Fire and Rescue. The morning session was closed by the only independent Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball who was praised by Damian Green MP earlier in the day, gave a measured but candid insight into how Warwickshire police authority has made significant savings whilst exploring the bumpy journey to joint working which juggled different cultures and opinions.

Following lunch, further networking and interactive, supplier led seminars into the latest innovation techniques, the afternoon plenary kick off with the highly anticipated speech from John Wailing, Chief Technology Advisor at the Home Office. Mr Wailing discussed the Emergency Service Mobile Communications Programme and the new ESN (Emergency Services Network) within the context of progress to delivery smarter, quicker and more productive services. His session also explored the challenges of data exchange, the need for broadband to meet communication demands, ensuring choice of device for the task at hand through improved procurement practice and finally covering the future of Long Term Evolution. This session was followed by Tom Bennett, Director of Technology Services, Devices and Laboratories from EE who supplemented Mr Wailing’s session with more technical insight into encouraging greater mobility and merging networks through partnerships across the UK. Finally, Mick Trosh, ITS Project Lead from ACPO closed the conference by discussing the emergency service vehicle challenges and innovations for the large blue light fleet required to serve and protect the public.

Thank you to all that contributed to the day, and with the agenda of joint working growing in strength we look forward to welcoming you all back to next year’s Blue Light Innovation Conference in the autumn of 2014. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Londoners to love, respect and be proud of their Met

Criminal Justice Management 2013 Conference

The 13th annual Criminal Justice Conference, at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on Thursday 26th September 2013 kicked off to a great start with the attendance of over 350 of the UK’s finest justice professionals. The lively event brought together practitioners, strategy leads and suppliers to share national and local examples of policy through to practice in policing, reducing reoffending, youth justice, skills development through to estates efficiency.

Chaired by Richard Ford, The Times Home Affairs Correspondent, the day promised policy insight, improvement ideas and the chance to question key speakers on current strategies. Antonia Romeo, Director General, Criminal Justice, Ministry of Justice opened the conference covering the Criminal Justice Action plan and the positive role of digital migration to the CJS efficiency programme. Ian Blakeman, Director, Commissioning and Commercial, National Offender Management Service continued the discussion by exploring co-commissioning, worth over £1bn in services, and emphasised the need to focus on recidivism. He showcased interesting risk profiling slides* based on gender, length of sentence and age and the need to deliver solutions based on evidence-based thinking. Kate Davies OBE, Head of Public Health, Military and Offender Health Commissioning, NHS England focused on the transfer of commissioning responsibility from individual police forces to MHS expert commissioners of health services. This raised a number of questions from the audience on meeting patient outcomes, funding challenges, current system inefficiencies and managing the revolving door of reoffending. Delegates throughout the conference raised questions and helped to provide an informative knowledge exchange platform.

The morning session closed with the hotly anticipated speech from Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM. His moral raising speech was well documented by the BBC, The Telegraph and The Evening Standard and covered how he wanted “Londoners to love, respect and be proud of their Met”.  He presented to delegates a full range of statistics comparing crime figures from 2011 to 2013 and how the Met has achieved the lowest rates in since 1985. As the Telegraph reported, the Commissioner said “there had been improvements in the use of stop and search, which has previously been a source of friction between the police and ethnic minorities”. Later in a private one-to-one interview with the BBC at the conference, the Commissioner covered the threat of cybercrime, terrorism in London and the recent investigations in the Met. For more snippets from the BBC video report please click here.

Following the morning’s busy exhibition, full of key service providers who played an important part in the day’s success, facilitating seminars, networking over coffee, and an opportunity for delegates to find solutions to meet their needs, the conference returned to hear from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS case study showcased its efficiency programme and the positive impact of migration to digital court services and using electronic case files. This raised the challenge that although having the technology is great, ensuring the effective co-ordination to realise optimum benefit was essential. Frances Done CBE, Chair of the Youth Justice Board’s passionate speech raised the youth element to the agenda and covered transforming custody, re-offending and using restorative justice conferencing to support this vulnerable group. This was followed by breakout seminars which brought together intimate groups to discuss, debate and learn about developments in predictive policing; offender learning and employment; operational efficiency and improving social outcomes. Questions and debate were aplenty and unearthed both problems and solutions to aid justice improvement.

The afternoon session opened with Liz Calderbank, HM Chief Inspector of Probation covering the heavily debated outsourcing of probation services which sparked great interest from the delegation and raised questions of the practicalities of delivering the proposed changes. This was followed by an understanding of the politics and functionality of the Police and Crime Commissioner delivered by Andy Champness, Chief Executive at Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire. With the delivery of change locally and increasing role of the PCC this was a great addition to the day. The final two speeches were covered by Merseyside Police and Ministry of Justice Estates on delivering efficiencies through using ICT as frontline operational tools, and balancing value for money with service requirements respectively. Questions were raised around the resettlement of prisoners as estates closed in local areas.

*Delegates who attended the conference will have access to all presentations post conference

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Public sector IT to be simpler and more flexible

Government ICT 2.0 Conference

On Wednesday 25th September, 360 senior professionals gathered at the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster to consider, discuss and debate the key topics driving the national IT agenda at both a local and national level.

The Government ICT 2.0 Conference provided the backdrop for a day exploring areas such as G-Cloud and Cloud, PSN, CoCo – Code of Connection, Open Source and flexible working. Leading experts including  Tony Singleton and John Stubley from the Cabinet Office, as well as case studies from Surrey, Brent and Solihull Councils provided delegates with a conference full of the most up to date and relevant information. The busy exhibition, full of key suppliers, also played an important part in the day’s success, facilitating networking and an opportunity for delegates to find solutions to meet their needs.

Dr Mark Thompson, Jonathan Bowers, John Stubley and Tony Singleton

Mark Thompson, the Event Chair, opened discussions, highlighting the potential transformation of the local government marketplace and standardised procurement in some areas of IT. Following this well received opening, Jonathan Bowers of UKFast, talked about the evolving role of hosting companies from technology providers to business enablers. Jonathan’s message centered on buyers understanding what they can demand and expect from a supplier, with both speed to enhance user experience and the delivery of technical support as clear priorities. Rhys Sharp, CTO at SCC picked up on this supplier angle, adding that they want to understand need.

In a day which offered expert, national and supplier perspectives, the case studies were major highlights. Here, Stephan Conaway presented on Brent’s approach to flexible working, and explored the use of technology in new ways. Surrey County Council also looked at flexible working, presenting on their approach to BYOD. Finally, Steve Halliday from Solihull and the President of Socitm, delivered an address on open source and the £1m annual savings in his local authority. Pragmatism was a major theme here, with Steve saying this is vital to approaches to information security and PSN compliance.

Two of the day’s final presentations were delivered by senior figures in the Cabinet Office. John Stubley, Operations Director for the Public Services Network began with the message that the future state must be simple, with modern services that run efficiently and effectively. On PSN, John said the common trust is essential and information needs to be safe. A major focus was on the new Protective Marking Scheme, due in April 2014. This will make organisations more accountable for how they use information in the future.

The closing keynote saw Tony Singleton from the Government Digital Service conclude with an outline of the current focus of GDS, with particular reference to the 25 exemplar projects looking to transform public services including voter registration and PAYE for employees.

But the main body of the address concerned Tony’s role as Head of the G-Cloud Project and with the tender process for G-Cloud 4 having closed on Monday, Tony highlighted what he termed ‘very promising’ figures for bids. These included 832 suppliers of which 83% are SMEs, with 7,300 services offered and 29,000 buyers.

Moving onto the objectives of G-Cloud 4, Tony said that the first three procurement rounds have been about what suppliers can offer. G-Cloud 4 signals a move to better understand need across the public sector and ensuring that this is satisfied by suppliers.