London Digital Security Centre (LDSC) grant variation

Reference code: 
PCD 30
Date signed: 
25 July 2016
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

The LDSC is a unique, London-specific public-private partnership created by MOPAC to address cyber-security concerns raised by SMEs. The initial funding of £327k was recognised as developing the organisation to its current level; a second stage of MOPAC funding was not ruled out.

The LDSC is well placed to address the more ambitious remit relating to the Mayor’s manifesto pledges around digital security and cybercrime. MOPAC will be supporting the Mayor’s Chief Digital Officer and leading on the Mayor’s cybercrime strategy. The LDSC will help to drive forward the Mayor’s manifesto commitment to ensure Londoners and businesses have the information and resources they need to stay safe online.

So far the LDSC has proved its concept and has developed its business model; it is now at a critical stage where it is ready for full implementation. The imminent recruitment of both a new Head of the Centre and business lead who will drive forward an updated business plan and achieve longer-term self-sustainability for the centre. This plan will require a further tranche of investment from MOPAC.

Recommendation

That DMPC agrees to vary the current grant agreement with the LDSC increasing the funding from £327k to a maximum of £527k and extending the grant term until March 2018.

Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)

 

Introduction and background

The LDSC is a unique, London-specific public-private partnership created by MOPAC to address key concerns raised by SMEs; SMEs have told MOPAC that they do not truly understand the capabilities of cybercriminals or how they commit offenses, and find it difficult to find clear guidance and support on how to keep themselves safe.

The LDSC has the potential to be more ambitious and address the Mayor’s manifesto pledges concerning digital security, cybercrime and business connectivity. The GLA has agreed that MOPAC will lead on the Mayor’s cyber-crime strategy; MOPAC will be utilising the LDSC to drive forward the Mayor’s manifesto commitment to ensure Londoners and businesses have the information and resources they need to stay safe online.

The impact for victims of fraud is often devastating, whether they are individuals or businesses. Fraud and cyber-enabled fraud is both considerably under-reported and under-investigated. The LDSC works closely with Operation FALCON in the Met and with City of London police, the technology sector and businesses to provide a trusted, one-stop shop for cyber security advice for small businesses in our city.

LDSC is at a critical point in its development; the organisation is entering a new phase with greater scope for cooperation and co-working with CoLP and others and is ready to launch its business services offer and threat information model. Over the last year the LDSC has been designed and incorporated and a business service model has been built proving the concept; however there has been little income generated and the MOPAC grant income has therefore been the main source of funds. Costs are now better understood and this has allowed the LDSC Board to consider a segregated funding model which separates sales from engagement and threat information work.

In order for it to be successful, the LDSC needs to have the staff in place who are able to provide the right technical and threat expertise together with the skills to develop products which maximise sales and draw down other sources of funding to make the LDSC self-sustaining

The grant agreement needs to be varied so that the total amount will be increased from £327k to a maximum of £527k and the grant period extended to March 2018. The varied agreement will include a cost recovery provision with the aim of recovering some of these extra MOPAC costs before March 2018 subject to the agreement of the LDSC board.

 

Issues for consideration

This proposal builds on the progress made to date and provides the opportunity for a full operational launch of its business services offer.

The LDSC will be able to recruit a new Head of LDSC, potentially on a term based and incentivised basis; along this a new Business Services lead will be appointed on secondment who will pursue robust marketing and sales plans together with plans for sponsorship and alternative sources of grant funding

This proposal is consistent with the Mayor’s objective of developing a digital strategy; the LDSC will be utilised in his objective of tackling cybercrime

The people scheduled for recruitment will provide knowledge of and access to national fraud and cyber infrastructure and private sector info-sec expertise

 

Financial Comments

The variation in the grant agreement will be for up to a maximum of £200k in additional funding; some of these costs may be recoverable

This proposal represents extra charges to the MOPAC budget beyond the £400k previously allocated to business crime

Although the lead staff will be incentivised to deliver positive financial outcomes there are no absolute guarantees that the income targets will be achieved

 

Legal Comments

Under section 9 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 MOPAC may make a Crime and Disorder Reduction Grant to any person if they are of the opinion that it will secure, or contribute to securing crime and disorder reduction within the Metropolitan Police District

Any cost recovery arrangement will need to be approved by the LDSC board

 

Equality Comments

The LDSC board has adopted an interim ethical framework which outlines equality and diversity provisions together with some ethical trading rules

The grant agreement terms and conditions require the recipient, if required, to demonstrate that they have acted ‘in a fair, open and non-discriminatory manner’  in regard to the procurement of goods and services in connection with the grant monies and the funded activities

The LDSC acts within the provisions of the Equality Act 2010