Research & TrendsGovt understands threats to national security but not to wider public services

Govt understands threats to national security but not to wider public services

NAO's recent report finds that the government has made good progress in improving its understanding of the most sophisticated threats to national security. However, the level of understanding of threats to wider public services is varied.

The National Audit Office has published an update for the Committee of Public Accounts on the Government’s National Cyber Security Programme.

The programme’s objectives include tackling cyber crime and making the United Kingdom one of the most secure places in the world to do business.

NAO’s report finds that the government has made good progress in improving its understanding of the most sophisticated threats to national security. However, the level of understanding of threats to wider public services is varied.

While exports in UK cyber products and services have increased by 22% between 2012 and 2013, progress in encouraging trade and exports has been slow, and, according to the NAO’s survey of stakeholders, this is the objective against which the government currently has the poorest performance.

Some progress has been made in encouraging businesses and citizens to mitigate risks, particularly in getting larger companies to take action. The government has, however, had a limited impact in targeting SMEs, where it has struggled to communicate guidance in a way that meets their needs.

The Programme’s financial management and governance mechanisms are strong, and the Government is on track to spend the Programme’s budget of £860 million by March 2016.

Overall, the NAO found that government continues to make good progress in implementing the Programme, which is helping to build capability, mitigate risk and change attitudes. Cyber threats, however, continue to evolve and government must increase the pace of change in some areas to meet its objectives.

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