Local Authorities are crucial drivers of digital inclusion - and there are lots of great resources and research around at the moment targeted at them. We've pulled together some of our favourites....
A model to help any local council
We recently went to the launch of a model to help any local council create a digital inclusion programme. It's based on the experiences of 100% Digital Leeds, who are trail blazers in this area. The Community Based Approach to Digital Inclusion model is designed to help ANY council get going. And all the people who had applied it in their areas, stressed how practical and adaptable it is for all kinds of communities at very different stages.
The message that comes through is that community is key. If it's going to work, it's crucial to embed support via organisations that are already supporting people, in a way that’s part of business as usual. Councils don't need to create communities and networks - they need to use and inspire the ones that are already out there. It's free to download from Digital Inclusion Toolkit and well worth a look.
The importance of community echoes something that came through clearly in the Data Poverty Lab's excellent Scaling Solutions to Data Poverty report - 'community led solutions are brilliant and effective'. But by their very nature, they are also hard to scale. So we love the 100% Digital Model even more because it’s about helping councils and communities do just that!
The Data Poverty report is another great read, partly because it focuses on positive solutions, and it doesn't look at the issues in isolation, but outlines the "Pointless Triangle" that says you need three things to be digitally included: data; devices and skills. Each one is pointless without the other. We'd argue you need...
Data, devices and....Digital Champions
As a result of our work with local authorities, we've pulled together some case studies and resources especially for them to help them explain the benefits and practicalities of a getting Champion programme up and running. From cross-borough initiatives, to programmes addressing specific needs - and with practical and personalised advice on embedding digital inclusion in their organisations.
If you go digital, but don't take users with you...
To end with a not-so-cheerful report but an important one nonetheless. Access Denied is by Age Uk London and looks at how difficult it is to access council services in some areas if you're offline or have low digital confidence: “I feel completely excluded from life by all the digitisation” says one respondent. There are some hard lessons about how difficult life is without digital skills and confidence and without help.