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Socitm launches council web management survey

Socitm, the public sector IT and digital management body, has launched a survey of the governance and management of websites in local authorities. Local authorities have many approaches to the way they run their websites and related digital activities, the society says, including in-house or outsourced; using open source or proprietary software for content management and transactions; with budgets measured in tens or hundreds of thousand pounds; and managed through a range of council functions - usually communications, customer services or IT. Socitm has been tracking variation in council website performance since 1999 with its annual 'Better connected' survey. Since 2004 it has also been tracking visitor numbers, satisfaction and visit success with its website performance service, and more recently has gathered data on customer channel management and cost. Up to now, however, it has not attempted to gather comprehensive data on web governance and management, staffing, budgets, software and analytics. The survey is being sent to all UK local authorities for completion by 23 December. All participants will have access to the data supplied by other participating organisations, and analysis of the data will be published in 'Better connected 2015' on 2 March 2015. "We expect the survey will confirm much of what we know already from our regular contact with local authority web teams", said Martin Greenwood of Socitm. "However, we are looking forward to having real evidence about the variety of approaches to governance, management and spending on council websites, and to be able to cross reference this with evidence on performance from our other work."
Socitm web management survey:

Rise in human error data breaches, Egress report finds

An increase in data breaches as a result of human error across all sectors has been found by an analysis of Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) figures by encryption services provider Egress Software Technologies. Examining reported incidents between April and June 2013, and the same period for 2014, the survey finds healthcare organisations top the list with 91 reported breaches increasing to 183 - a 101% increase. They were followed by local government and education organisations, while central government also experienced a growth of more than one-third (38%). Total fines issue by the ICO since 2010 for data protection violations have exceeded £6.7m, with public sector organisations responsible for £4.5m of this, the survey finds. During the first three months of 2014, one-quarter of reported data breaches were caused by the accidental loss or destruction of personal data, the analysis finds. This is up from 15% for the second half of 2013. Of these, 43% involved confidential information being disclosed in error, primarily through emailing, faxing or posting data to an incorrect recipient. Overall some 93% of breaches were down to human error, poor processes and systems in place, and lack of care when handling data, while just 7% occurred as a result of technical failings. In fact, to date no fines have been levied due to technical failings exposing confidential data, whereas a total £5.1m has been issued for mistakes made when handling sensitive information, the analysis finds. "What these statistics demonstrate is that training alone is not the answer", says Egress chief executive Tony Pepper. "Organisations have put huge emphasis on process-driven training, but the fact that 93% of all incidents between January and March 2014 were caused by human error or failure to carry out effective process demonstrates that a change in approach is needed. Organisations need to make data protection a priority. Where possible, fax and post must be replaced by secure electronic communication."
Egress data breach infographic:

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