Free cyber security support and accreditation for small charities

21 Jun 2023 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 8 Oct 2023

Cyber Essentials Plus logo

The National Cyber Security Centre is offering a fully funded scheme to help organisations in the voluntary and community sector to get Cyber Essentials Plus certification.

All organisations face a threat from cyber attack but some organisations have a particularly increased risk. This might be because they hold sensitive information about the people that they work with, or they are perceived as an easy target by cyber criminals. For those sectors most at risk, the NCSC is launching a Funded Cyber Essentials Programme. This scheme aims to provide vulnerable organisations with help to implement baseline security controls to prevent the most common types of cyber attack.

Who is eligible for support?

To qualify for this scheme, organisations must either be:

  • a micro or small charity (1 to 49 employees, excluding volunteers) that processes personal data, as defined under GDPR


  • micro or small business (1 to 49 employees) that offers legal aid services


  • a micro or small organisation (1 to 49 employees) that provides work supporting either Artificial intelligence (AI) or Quantum technologies or Engineering Biology or Semiconductors

AND meet the following criteria:

  • Has not previously participated in the NCSC Funded Cyber Essentials Programme
  • Does not currently hold Cyber Essentials Plus certification, has not been awarded CE+ certification since May 2022 and is not currently in the process of applying for CE+ certification.

If your organisation meets the above criteria and you would like to apply for the Funded Cyber Essentials Programme please click here and complete the form.

Why should you get Cyber Essentials?

  • Improve your cyber security processes
  • Reassure clients that you are working to secure your IT against cyber attack
  • Attract new partners/clients/funding with the promise you have cyber security measures in place
  • Have a clear picture of your organisation's cyber security level 
  • Some Government contracts require Cyber Essentials certification

How does it work?

The programme will offer practical support from an Advisor to achieve Cyber Essentials Plus at no cost to the organisation. This does not include the cost of any additional software or hardware identified by the Advisor that is required to achieve Cyber Essential Plus.

Qualifying organisations will receive around 20 hours of remote support with an Advisor. This time will be spent identifying and implementing improvements that are right for the size and needs of the organisation and supporting them in implementing the 5 Cyber Essentials technical controls. This will be followed by a hands-on technical verification that the controls have been put in place.

If it is not possible for the organisation to achieve Cyber Essentials Plus, the Advisor will help organisations implement as many of the technical controls as possible and give the organisation a clear list of the additional actions they need to undertake to become compliant. The scheme is designed to lead an organisation through the technical controls required to achieve Cyber Essentials certification, followed by the audit for Cyber Essentials Plus. No previous cyber security certification or experience is necessary.

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is an effective, Government backed scheme that will help you to protect your organisation, whatever its size, against a whole range of the most common cyber attacks. Cyber Essentials Plus has the same simplicity of approach and the protections you need to put in place are the same, but for Cyber Essentials Plus a hands-on technical verification is carried out.

Cyber Essentials Readiness Tool

The Cyber Essentials Readiness Tool is a free online tool, accessible in the form of a set of questions on the IASME website. The process of working through the questions will tell you about your current level of cyber security and how you need to improve in order to certify to Cyber Essentials. On completion you will be directed towards appropriate guidance and be presented with a tailored action plan and detailed guidance for your next steps towards certification. We recommend that you work through the Readiness Tool as part of the Funded Cyber Essentials Programme, although this is not a requirement for participation.'s picture
by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

Share your COVID-19 support service

Organisations providing support to people and communities can share their service information here

> Share your support

Not a NICVA member yet?

Save time, money and energy. Join NICVA and you’ll be connecting in to a strong network of local organisations focused on voluntary and community activity.

Join Us

NICVA now welcomes all small groups for free.