The government have announced they will be providing £3.68m to cover the cost of the cyber attack in Redcar and Cleveland. This final offer comes prior to the May election to gain kudos with local residents and I hope they see through it.
During purdah our council had no choice but to put out a press release on this announcement which was a feel good story endorsed by the words of the council leader calling it “a long, hard but fair negotiation.” And was “pleased with the government”. But none of us should be pleased by the government and their short changing and inaction to compensate the council in full. No we are not pleased. No we are not satisfied.
The cyber attack left over 135,000 people without online public services. During that time the entire system was inoperable, costing the authority, residents, service users and providers and businesses extra costs and damages. Throughout this extremely difficult time our officers and IT department have been exemplary, doing all they could to keep services flowing and to secure the system from vulnerability with new firewalls and security measures. This was an unprecedented attack, sophisticated, unique and the council was completely exonerated of any blame because the previous system was to the expected standard. This ransomware attack was something completed different.
Shortly after this happened, the government stated that they would effectively pick up the bill. They haven’t. At one time the council were looking at potential costs of upwards of £14m. Having carried out much of the work in house that figure came down to over £10m just last August. The government have now said to Redcar And Cleveland council we can have £4m, take it or leave it.
This does not even cover half the losses. To add insult to injury the government have dragged this out for 14 months. During which time the administration increased local taxes on our residents by 4%. Had the government provided their paltry offer just two months ago, this would still have been enough to negate the council tax bill imposed on our residents.
Once again the government have shown they are not supporting the local authority to protect the residents from the cost. It is the residents of Redcar And Cleveland who keep picking up the bill.
Below is the Labour motion to council. Unfortunately time ran out before this could be discussed.
“This Council is appalled not to receive full reimbursement of the costs of the cyber-attack in February 2020. This event rendered the entire IT infrastructure inoperable, was completely out of our control (Governance Papers: 24 November 2020. Mazar Audit. p.49) and estimated to have cost £10.144m (Cabinet Papers: 4 August 2020. 4.2., p.3).
“Furthermore, this council believes that the announcement this week of a £3.68m payment fails to recognise all who have worked so hard for over 14 months to secure the full funding promised and to prevent these costs falling on local council taxpayers.
“However, this council acknowledges there is little more that can be done given the extensive evidence provided by our officers which has been subject to several iterations of due diligence for over a year.
“This Council therefore agrees:
- To put on record our extreme dissatisfaction with the settlement in relation to this sophisticated cyber-attack;
- To note that payment of the full amount may have resulted in our residents not having a 4% increase to their council tax;
- To write to relevant ministers and to our local MPs making clear our frustration at the process, the time it has taken to be resolved and the final outcome.”