Only half of local authorities are prepared for a cyber attack, survey says

Just over half (53%) of local authorities across the UK are prepared to deal with a cyber attack according to research by PwC.

While the latest PwC Global CEO survey found that 76% of UK CEOs are concerned about cyber threats, only 35% of local authority leaders are confident that their staff are well equipped to deal with cyber threats.  Demonstrating how real those threats are, almost all (97%) of UK CEOs surveyed say they are currently addressing cyber breaches affecting business information or critical systems.

PwC’s seventh annual survey, The Local State We’re In, polled the views of over 100 local authority Chief Executives, Finance Directors and elected Council Leaders across the UK. It found that local authorities perceived themselves vulnerable in the face of cyber attacks, particularly in the wake of the recent ransomware attack on the NHS.


Public perceptions

PwC also surveyed over 2,000 members of the public to discover their views on their council’s performance, role and remit. Overall, there was a concern from the public around cyber threats with only 34% of respondents trusting their council to manage and share their data and information appropriately.

There is, however, public appetite to have more council services available online, particularly from those who already use digital services. Four in ten (44%) say they would like more online services overall, with a clear preference among younger people (56% of 18-34 year olds) compared to older generations (34% of 55+ years).


Digital disruption in the sector

When it comes to councils embracing technology, there’s been a notable drop in confidence over the last 12 months. The number of leaders who believe that technology will help them better engage with communities and residents has jumped from 54% in 2016 to 83% in 2017. However, when it comes to delivery only, 61% of authorities are confident in their digital approach – down from 76% in 2016.

Most significantly, there has been a change in what councils believe digital can deliver for them – in 2016 80% of respondents felt technology would would enable them to reduce costs, however this has fallen to 58% in this year’s survey.

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