The last year has been a tough one for everybody. We have seen our personal and work lives turned upside down as we have had to adapt to change and changing circumstances. Out of this pandemic, from our viewpoint in iNetwork as a local public sector partnership, we have also seen glimmers of good. One such glimmer is the deepened collaboration in the public sector, and the closer working with other regional WARPs has been a great example of this.

iNetwork manages the North West WARP; this is a closed and trusted forum for public sector organisations in the NW of England to share and exchange on matters of cyber/information security and information governance. I co-ordinate the forum and it is chaired by Alan Boardman, (Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS FT).  We have 71 organisations made up of councils, Fire & Rescue, Police, NHS Trusts and CCGs, and Housing within the WARP. 

Every region in England and Wales has its own WARP; typically, whilst we occasionally talk as distant cousins do, we tend to do our own thing. Cyber threats know no geographical boundaries and we gain a lot by working and communicating across the borders we typically work within. Over the last year, communication between WARPs have been more frequent and collaborative efforts have been targeted and fruitful. Some of this is thanks to the efforts of the National Cyber Technical Advisory group (C-TAG), chaired by Geoff Connell and supported by Josh Wood and Mark Brett, NLA WARP.

This year, the Yorkshire & Humber PSN Partnership joined iNetwork, expanding iNetwork’s partnership by 65 organisations. This is a game changer for deeper collaboration across the North of England. Whilst organisations in Yorkshire & Humber have their own WARP, these same organisations are now iNetwork members and we have a shared remit to specifically support local public sector organisations across NW & Y&H in matters of infosec and infogov. To this end, Y&H WARP and NW WARP are exploring ways to work more closely together. 

Last year, Yorkshire & Humber WARP, with North West WARP jointly procured cyber security training. This collaboration not only saved £150k but it enabled us to work so much closer. Our latest collaborative effort is organising, what we hope to be, the first annual tri-WARP Conference on 2nd July 2021. NW WARP is collaborating with the WARPs in Yorkshire & Humber and the North East to bring to our WARP members: Northern WARP Conference: security, governance & management. This will be the first time that we have collaborated on delivering an event on this scale for the benefit of the North of England. Registrations have not quite opened for this online event yet, but we are accepting pre-registrations now via Tickets are only open to public sector organisations, simply let us know you’re interested and we will forward you the registration link as soon as it is live. We have very limited opportunities for supplier sponsorship; any interest in that regard may also be directed to the same email address.