The UK Cyber Security Council, the self-regulatory body for the cyber security education and skills sector, has announced that its application for charitable status has been approved by the Charity Commission, and that the Council has been added to the register of charities accordingly.
The council says its new charitable status is "recognition of the inclusive and non-profit support role it will play in supporting the development of education, training and skills within the UK cyber security community". It says through its founding principles and key pillars of operation, the Council will serve as a trusted and expert body working to support policy makers, training and education bodies, membership associations, employers and cyber security practitioners.
Don MacIntyre, interim CEO of the UK Cyber Security Council says: “We're very pleased to say that the Council has been granted charitable status. Being a charity doesn't particularly change how the Council will operate, but it's both a reminder and proof to everyone that the mission of the Council is exclusively to benefit the public, in particular by making the UK one of the safest places in the world to live and work online."
In accordance with UK charity legislation, the UK Cyber Security Council is controlled, and its assets held in trust, by a board of trustees, which is responsible for ensuring that the Council is well-run and delivers its charitable activities for the public benefit.
How charitable organisations work
Organisations with charitable status cannot use assets for any purpose other than the pursuit of charitable objects. The assets of a charity can never be used for private benefit and charities cannot operate for the sole purpose of making a profit, they must show that they are creating public benefit, and must conform to the regulations set out in charity law particularly the Charities Act 2011. A charity is a legal status for an organisation, not a legal form or organisational structure. Charities are not owned by anybody.
How and why the Council was formed
The National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021 policy paper set out “the UK Government’s plan to make Britain secure and resilient in cyberspace”. It included ambitions to develop and accredit the cyber security profession by “reinforcing the recognised body of cyber security excellence within the industry and providing a focal point which can advise, shape and inform national policy.”
This plan was developed further and, in December 2018, the Initial National Cyber Security Skills Strategy was published, specifically prescribing a new, independent body – the UK Cyber Security Council. The Council would be “charged with the development of a framework that speaks across the different specialisms, setting out a comprehensive alignment of career pathways, including the certifications and qualifications required within certain levels. The Council will lay the structural foundations of the cyber security profession that will enable it to respond to the evolving needs of industry and the wider economy.”
Following a competitive tender process, in September 2019 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) commissioned the establishment of the Council by a consortium of existing cyber security professional bodies known as the Cyber Security Alliance.
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