This case study on starting a digital inclusion programme is from 100% Digital Leeds. There is no correct way to start a digital inclusion programme, so take a look at both this case study and the step by step guide to starting a digital inclusion programme and take it from there. We’d also really like to hear what’s working for you.
The 100% Digital Leeds steps to starting a digital inclusion programme
1 - We set up a Scrutiny Board Inquiry
100% Digital Leeds is the result of a Leeds City Council Scrutiny Board Inquiry into digital inclusion that started in 2015. Three evidence gathering sessions between October and December 2015 heard from a range of experts, council officers and people with lived experience.
The aim was to establish clear lines of reporting and responsibility so that everyone knew who ‘owned’ the work at every level. That included:
- setting the overall objectives and outcomes for the programme/project
- designing the programme/project and making strategic decision
- delivering the programme/project and making operational decisions
2 - We published reports and recommendations
The Scrutiny Board produced a report in April 2016 that set out a series of recommendations and desired outcomes that set the strategic context and ambition for what was to become the 100% Digital Leeds programme.
The Scrutiny Inquiry report made a number of recommendations and observations.
Sourced investment and resources
The recommendations required a number of significant improvement measures and we anticipated that these measures would require investment and resources.
Established strategies and partnerships
In conducting the Inquiry, the Board reflected on the value and impact of Leeds City Council, partners and organisations working together. It was agreed this is the most effective way to identify opportunities to reduce the digital divide and promote economic prosperity for people who live and work in Leeds.
The Scrutiny Board aimed to establish if robust strategies, governance, partnership arrangements and high impact operational practices are in place to maximise digital inclusion interventions across the city.
No part of the system can solve digital inclusion by working in isolation. The council provides leadership in the form of the 100% Digital Leeds team. The remit of the team is to develop effective digital inclusion partnerships and networks across sectors and across the city.
The Board gathered intelligence and were informed through the collective knowledge and experience of all those who contributed to the inquiry. We hoped that their findings would highlight the need for Leeds collectively to demonstrate a significant and co-ordinated effort to reduce the digital divide.
The focus of their recommendations aimed to ensure Leeds residents old and young had the access and capability to use the internet in order to do things that benefit them in their everyday lives.
Identified who was accountable
The council’s Chief Digital and Information Officer was tasked with leading the response to the Inquiry. The 100% Digital Leeds team was established to design and deliver the digital inclusion programme to meet the Recommendations of the Inquiry.
Produced annual reports
The Board asked to receive annual update reports showing progress and identifying barriers. The annual reports to the Board and their ongoing feedback and direction have informed our development of 100% Digital Leeds.
All of the reports have been published online and we have invited our partners to contribute to the reports and give evidence at Board meetings. Working collaboratively and in the open means that more people can see progress and are included in the process.
The leadership and the reports set the strategic context. The next step was to develop and deliver a programme of work to meet the recommendations and desired outcomes.
3 - We developed and delivered our digital inclusion programme
The annual reports covered a number of broad themes. This framework laid the foundations and set out the priorities for our digital inclusion programme.
Analysed returns on investment and other benefits
We analysed the investment required alongside return on investment and the benefits that could be realised through increased digital inclusion for the people of Leeds.
Identified current activities and gaps
We identified existing digital inclusion activity (and the gaps) across the city to help with better coordinated support for organisations and citizens.
Increased access to training, connectivity and equipment
We increased capacity in communities through access to equipment, connectivity, funding, training and other interventions.
Targeted priority communities and areas
We targeted priority areas and communities in terms of geography and demographics in order to maximise impact.
4 - Our achievements
This approach has allowed us to:
- increase our understanding of the issues and the scale of the task
- successfully make the case for additional resources to meet the need
- build a digital inclusion movement of organisations working together across sectors and across the city with ongoing support, expertise and coordination from the 100% Digital Leeds team