MPs get charity help to boost digital skills

A charity is taking a pilot scheme to Parliament to see how MPs can benefit from digital training.

Doteveryone, a charity which focuses on digital issues, has tested its new scheme on four MPs, who each received received lessons from “digitally-savvy mentors”.

The charity is now working with the Parliamentary Digital Service to scale the project up to the whole House of Commons.

Between May and June, Doteveryone worked with Labour MP Yvette Cooper, SNP MP Calum Kerr, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, and Conservative MP Matt Warman.

They looked at how digital training might benefit engagement, collaboration, security and the delivery of parliamentary work. The project was funded by the charity, which claims the pilot scheme led to an increase in engagement.

In a blog, Rachel Coldicutt from Doteveryone said: “It proved to be a very successful pilot; but not necessarily in ways that we were expecting. Rather than exploring the intricacies and nuances of the blockchain or machine learning we helped them and their offices do ‘digital basics’ – switching on 2-factor authentication, putting emails into folders, rebuilding websites and showing them how to use video for social media outreach.

“This was important and useful work and we were glad to do it, but the way technology is constantly a feature of our political landscape shows how important it is that MPs – and our other leaders – have an understanding of it that goes beyond the basics. Brexit, Trump, Hillary’s emails – all have a common thread. That basics isn’t enough.

“We’re very grateful to our four MP ‘guinea pigs’ and to the Parliamentary Digital Service. We hope we’ll be working with them to roll this programme out to every MP. And we’re keen to move on to the next group of leaders, whether that’s local authority leaders or judges, or whoever. Watch this space for more news.”

A full report on the achievements can be found here.

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