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IT businesses who want to work with Swansea Council now have to show cyber security credentials

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Swansea Council is taking up the baton in tackling the ever-increasing risk of cybercrime becoming the second local authority in the region to make cyber resilience a must-have for all businesses it tenders with. 

In its ongoing commitment to safeguard businesses in the area, Swansea Council is partnering with the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales (WCRC), and is asking organisations that tender for ICT Cloud goods, services or works to, or for, the council to have Cyber Essentials or a minimum of WCRC Core Membership.

It is now the second local authority in Wales, after Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, to bring in these criteria as a ‘must-have’ as part of its procurement process ensuring an effective and simple way for contractors to understand how to increase their cyber resilience by taking simple steps.  

Phil Roberts, Chief Executive of Swansea Council, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales to provide help and support to SMEs and micro businesses within our community.

“We are determined that Swansea businesses have in place simple measures that make themselves more resilient and have the means in which to do so. Therefore, we have introduced the need for Cyber Essentials, or at a minimum, membership of the cyber resilience centre into our procurement process for organisations within our supply chain, so they are provided with the right support to improve their cyber security. This in turn allows us to provide services across our communities in the safest way possible.”

To strengthen the cyber resilience message even further, Swansea Council is also encouraging organisations and individuals across the city to utilise the WCRC services which helps protect supply chain businesses and third sector organisations in Wales against cyber-crime.

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Director of the WCRC, Detective Superintendent Paul Peters, added: “We are delighted to be working alongside Swansea Council in our ongoing commitment to protecting companies against this ongoing threat from cyber criminals. Establishing Cyber Essentials as part of its procurement process, Phil Roberts  and his team are paving the way for organisations to be more cyber resilient and to guarantee they, and their supply chain are no longer at risk. But we recognise that not all businesses will achieve this, so as a minimum they will have the support and guidance of the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales. 

“Now that Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and Swansea Council have both introduced these measures, we hope it’s only a matter of time that others follow, and we look forward to assisting many more businesses across the area in strengthening their cyber security.”

The WCRC is a partnership between the police, private sector and academia set up to help Welsh businesses protect themselves against cybercrime. It provides micro, small and medium-sized organisations with free and affordable cyber resilience guidance designed to help protect themselves from attack. Those who sign up to its free Core Membership receive practical guidance on the cyber security basics. There is also the option to upgrade to a flexible paid-for range of options to suit the level of support required.

The centre works closely with trusted partners;  a group of certifying bodies verified by the Information Assurance for Small and Medium Enterprises Consortium (IASME) to help firms achieve Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus Certification, which members have access to.

Visitors to the centre’s website will also be able to download its Little Book of Cyber Scams, a dedicated booklet which highlights the techniques criminals will use to try to steal from and exploit you.

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Education

Pupils create lasting legacy ahead of move to new school

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Pupils counting down the weeks until they can move into their new school building have created a lasting legacy to let children in the future know what school life is like today.

The children at Ysgol Gymraeg Tan-y-lan have worked with staff to gather items for a time capsule that has been buried on the site of the new £9.9m build in Clase.

The development is nearing completion and they are due to move from their existing site at Tan-y-lan Terrace in Morriston to their new home in Clase after the Christmas holiday break.

Pupils joined Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart, Cabinet member for Education Improvement Robert Smith and other senior councillors at the new site to bury the time capsule.

It includes photos and recordings of performances along with items of news and information that will give a flavour of school life in 2021.

The new build is jointly funded by Swansea Council and the Welsh Government under the 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme and is part of a £170m investment in new and improved schools in Swansea which is the largest such investment in the city’s history.

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Cllr Smith said: “The new school building and facilities are absolutely first class and I can see how excited the staff and children are about moving into their new home.

“This will give them the very best surroundings in which to work and is very different to the old outdated accommodation of their current buildings.

“The contractors Kier have done an amazing job in building this school while working safely during the pandemic and I can’t wait to see the pupils settle in. I’m really looking forward to visiting them again when it opens.”

The new build at Hill View Crescent has an increased capacity and a nursery that will help meet additional demand for Welsh medium education in the future.

YGG Tan-y-lan headteacher Berian Jones said pupils and staff were very excited about the move and said they had all worked together to create the time capsule.

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He added: “Pupils from each year group were involved in preparing USB’s filled with examples of activities, photos and performances that have been placed in the capsule.

“We have also collected items that represent the school and our ‘cynefin’ habitat – we also included items and information from current time that explain our current situation and current events in history.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Health

Health board warning flu cases leading to hospital admissions in Swansea Bay

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woman lying on bed while blowing her nose

The flu virus is already circulating and has led to people being hospitalised according to Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Director of Public Health, Dr Keith Reid.

Dr Reid said the cases, although small in number, should be a timely reminder that everyone eligible for a free flu vaccination should take up the offer.

Dr Keith Reid

“Flu was non-existent in autumn and winter 2020 as lockdowns, mask wearing and increased hand hygiene stopped it and other winter bugs from spreading from person to person,” he said.

“But we have been expecting to see flu come back this year and potentially at levels up to twice as high as a normal flu season.

“People were simply not exposed to flu and other seasonal viruses last year, so the level of immunity in the community is likely to have dropped and people will be susceptible.

“Plus we are all mixing far more now and, with the bad weather coming, we are all going to be heading indoors which will give flu and other bugs the ideal opportunity to spread.”

Flu can be fatal and research has shown that those infected with both flu and Covid are more than twice as likely to die as someone with Covid alone.

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Dr Reid said: “This will be the first winter when we will have significant levels of flu and Covid circulating at the same time, so I must urge everyone, if they are eligible for a free flu vaccination, to take up the offer as soon as possible.

“While no vaccine can offer 100% protection, the flu vaccine remains our best defence against this nasty virus.

“And remember, if you haven’t yet had your first Covid vaccination you can still do so.”

(Lead image: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels.com)

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Swansea

Installation of gold-coloured panels nears completion at arena

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Installation of all gold-coloured panels surrounding Swansea Arena is now just about complete.

Over 1,600 of the panels have been installed – each equipped with LED lights to enable the hosting of displays around the attraction.

It’s another milestone for the £135m Copr Bay phase one district, which is being developed by Swansea Council and advised by development managers RivingtonHark.

Construction of the district – led by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd – will be complete this year, with the arena opening its doors in early 2022.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “This is another great milestone for our Copr Bay phase one district, which will be worth hundreds of jobs and £17.1m a year to Swansea’s economy.

“Significant progress is being made every day. This includes the planting of trees and other greenery in the 1.1-acre coastal park next to the arena and major construction progress on the new restaurant in the park that will be run by a Swansea business.

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“Our arena tenants and operators – Ambassador Theatre Group – have also started announcing arena acts, helping build excitement towards the announcement of a headline opening music act.

“People walking, cycling or driving along Oystermouth Road may also have seen more greenery being introduced recently along the roadside, with a living wall soon being introduced nearby too.

“The arena is creating a stunning new landmark on Swansea’s transformed cityscape. It will combine with many other projects to ensure our city quickly bounces back from the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Copr Bay phase one has been and continues to be delivered despite the challenge of Covid, while also paving the way for phase two that will be progressed with Urban Splash – our preferred development partner for the regeneration of several key sites in Swansea.”

Other features of Copr Bay phase one include the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, which will soon benefit from a permanent lighting scheme. Apartments are also being constructed, along with spaces for more businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors.

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The arena feature of Copr Bay phase one is being part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal as part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project that also includes the new office development soon being constructed at 71/72 The Kingsway.

The bridge over Oystermouth Road is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Active Travel fund.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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