There is no right or wrong way to get started with a digital inclusion programme or project. Here we’ve shared the 100% Digital Leeds approach, and we’d really like to hear what’s working for you.
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 – December 2015 heard from a range of experts, Council Officers and people with lived experience.
The 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 stated:
Our recommendations require a number of significant improvement measures and we anticipate that these measures will require investment and resources.
In conducting the Inquiry the Board reflected on the value and impact of Leeds City Council, partnerships and organisations to identify effectiveness in reducing the digital divide and promoting 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 access to technology, training and support.
The Board gathered intelligence and were informed through the collective knowledge and experience of all those who contributed to the inquiry. We hope that our findings will highlight the need for Leeds collectively to demonstrate a significant and co-ordinated effort to reduce the digital divide.
The focus of our recommendations aim to ensure Leeds residents old and young have the access and capability to use the internet in order to do things that benefit them in their everyday lives.
The Council’s Chief Digital and Information Officer was tasked with leading the response to the Inquiry and the Board asked to receive annual update reports showing progress and identifying barriers. The leadership and the report set the strategic context, the next step was to develop and deliver a programme of work to meet the Recommendations and Desired Outcomes.
Developing and delivering a digital inclusion programme
The report covered a number of broad themes:
- Analyse investment required alongside return on investment and the benefits that can be realised through increased digital inclusion for the people of Leeds
- Identify existing digital inclusion activity (and the gaps) across the city to facilitate better coordinated support for organisations and citizens
- Increase capacity in communities through access to equipment, connectivity, funding, training and other interventions
- Target priority areas and communities in terms of geography and demographics in order to maximise impact
This framework laid the foundations and set out the priorities for our digital inclusion programme. The annual reports to the Board and their ongoing feedback and direction have informed our development of 100% Digital Leeds.
We have increased our understanding of the issues and the scale of the task. We have successfully made the case for additional resources to meet the need. We have built 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.