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National School of Government

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Miller Andrew Miller Chair, Science and Technology Committee (Commons)

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office

(1) whether the National School of Government's information security “Protecting Information” course includes training in the (a) use of privacy panels and (b) circumstances when privacy screen panels should be used;

(2) whether the National School of Government provides visual data security training;

(3) pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2011, Official Report, column 368W, on Departmental Data Protection, what guidance the Cabinet Office issues to other Government Departments on (a) the use of data privacy panels and (b) training in the circumstances in which privacy screen panels should be used;

(4) whether the Government have undertaken an evaluation of the risks posed by visual data security breaches across central Government Departments.

Photo of Francis Maude Francis Maude The Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office

The Cross Government Data Handling Review 2008 requires that all civil servants undergo data security training on an annual basis. This training can be given through a variety of ways including:

induction courses; regular briefing and training events; articles on Departments' intranet sites; awareness campaigns; and intermittent reminders as and when considered necessary.

Visual data security is one element of the National School of Government “Introduction to Information Assurance” course, and is specifically covered under IS1 Risk Assessment Process as part of the “Information Assurance Standards IS1 and IS2” course. The National School of Government website also hosts the Cabinet Office sponsored e-learning course “Protecting Information” which includes a number of different ‘role dependent' modules.

The Government have a number of measures in place to safeguard sensitive and/or protectively marked (classified) information. The Cabinet Office co-ordinates protective security policy for the whole of Government including the rules, procedures and technical controls required to ensure the protection of sensitive information. Mandatory requirements and best practice guidelines are set out in the HMG Security Policy Framework at:


The framework includes guidance to reduce the risk that sensitive information could be overlooked when laptops or other media devices are used in open plan office environments or public spaces.

Security policy officials and the national technical authorities keep all security threats under constant review and the Security Policy Framework guidelines are regularly updated.

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