Enhancing digital inclusion in the public sector

As we approach National Inclusion Week (25th September to 1st October), the public sector will no doubt be encouraged to consider how inclusive it really is.

Inclusion is one of the key issues for the public sector as it embarks on digital transformation. Digital skills are vital for both individuals and organisations involved in delivering services – the benefits of digital are wide-ranging but unless digital inclusion is addressed, and everybody has the right access, skills, motivation and trust to confidently go online, some of those benefits will be missed.

In 2015 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport published a digital inclusion evaluation toolkit (Evaluate IT) to help the public sector address this exact issue. Since then, the team has worked with members of the Digital Inclusion Research and Evaluation Working Group, organisations in local government, the charity sector and housing associations, to test and improve the first iteration.

That research has led to the publication of a new resource on GOV.UK. You can find it here.

All of the documents in the toolkit now come under the heading Digital Inclusion Evaluation Toolkit, a new title that passes the ‘does what it says on the tin’ test.

More important, though, is the enhanced content:

  • A glossary and definitions section is included. You should not now need to look far for explanations of more complex terminology and methodology.
  • A flowchart has been added to explain the process ‘at a glance’. This is in the overview document, and will provide a brief/checklist reminding you what to do next.
  • The tough elements have been removed. Some parts of the previous toolkit were, in practice, difficult and not really necessary. The new Toolkit has shed these sections, but will still allow you to complete an excellent and robust evaluation.

The Toolkit is there for everyone trying to increase digital inclusion to use. It’s for small or large organisations, with expert or beginner evaluation experience and with specific digital inclusion focus, or wider evaluation needs.

Feedback on the Toolkit has been positive. Laura Wigby, digital inclusion project coordinator at Norwich City Council, said: “Being part of the pilot project has given Norwich City Council a chance to really consider the learners’ journey and make sure that we are achieving the best customer service possible.

“The evaluation has given a focus to our employees and volunteers, as well as the opportunity to meet the other pilot group partners and learn from their wealth of knowledge. Thanks for inviting us to take part!”

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