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Culture change

Improving awareness: a security cultural change programme for staff


Download: Culture change case study (PDF, 8,443KB)


The Security Company (TSC) continues to help develop a stronger security culture for the Skills Funding Agency and the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA).




"Quite simply the Skills Funding Agency/ Young People's Learning Agency couldn't have achieved the success with the information security education and awareness campaigns we have run, without The Security Company."

Carole Wysocki, Communications and Culture Change Specialist, SFA/ YPLA


The Skills Funding Agency and YPLA recognised the need to educate staff on their security responsibilities to improve their behaviour. They identified the role this plays in preventing information security breaches and protecting their reputation. In 2009, they invested in a security cultural change programme, to which TSC provides vital support.





  • To develop and maintain a staff culture alert to security risks in order to prevent avoidable breaches that could damage the organisations.
  • To demonstrate compliance with industry standards.


Creating an identity


"Their work is exciting and vibrant and has created a distinct identity for Information Security within the Skills Funding Agency and the Young People's Learning Agency."


Staff had viewed security as obstructive and onerous, rather than a business enabler. Creating an identity for security enabled the programme to become fully integrated into the business. We worked with the Information Security communications and culture change specialist at the Skills Funding Agency/YPLA to develop a 'face' for security and change existing perceptions. The character Lax was launched.


Lax features in a series of security themed animations as well as on all security communications. Lax is extremely well recognised, and has developed quite a personality.


"The 'back room team' are hugely talented. Creatively and technically in the work they produce, with minimum fuss, it always evokes a smile and sigh of relief!"


Communication materials used in the programme include:


  • Short video animations
  • Competitions
  • Web banners
  • Posters
  • Screensavers
  • HTML emails
  • Lunch and Learn sessions
  • 'How do I…?' guides
  • Cultural change


"The Security Company team has produced a unique solution for the Skills Funding Agency and the Young People's Learning Agency to help us provoke the culture change for the handling of Information Security that we are now achieving."


Three years on, the programme is going strong. Lax has helped to educate staff about their security responsibilities and impact their behaviour. Staff know why secure behaviour is important to the business and demonstrate positive attitudes towards the topic.


And they aren't the only ones. When Lax was first introduced, he couldn't seem to avoid ending up in situations where valuable information was at risk of being lost, stolen, or leaked. Whether classifying information, keeping a clear desk and clear screen, preventing tailgating or reporting an incident, Lax just wasn't doing the right thing.


However, Lax now reflects the maturity of the Skills Funding Agency's and the YPLA's culture. As well as demonstrating the right behaviour, Lax encourages his colleagues to do the same.




"As information security experts they have a wealth of specialist knowledge which means that they provide a huge amount of input to the knowledge sharing with our staff through the Knowledge Zone, Teach & Test and Virtual Tour online tools."


We work to ensure this culture change programme is aligned with these organisations' long-term strategic objectives. The Skills Funding Agency and YPLA are committed to sustaining the programme and ensuring its value. The success so far has gained senior management buy-in and enabled security to become fully integrated with business.


We continue to deliver regular communication campaigns to support the advice available on the Knowledge Zone. Staff are regularly assessed on their awareness and knowledge to tailor future developments to the programme.


Skills Funding Agency


The Skills Funding Agency is a partner organisation of the UK Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which funds and regulates adult further education and skills training in England.




The YPLA was established in the UK by the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 and launched in April 2010. Sponsored by the UK Government's Department for Education, the YPLA supports the delivery of training and education to all 16 - 19 year olds in England.