Sue Holland-Smith of Dundee City Council shares how Get Online Week worked for them.

Here in sunny Dundee we have been on a bit of a Digital Skills journey over the past year or so. We have been developing our Digital Champions model through a series of Champions Gatherings; developing and rolling out a programme of champion-led digital skills sessions; and collaborating with some of our lovely colleagues Scotland-wide through the Digital Office.

We realised that we wanted to know more about digital skills levels across the various services of the Council. When we heard about the Essential Skills toolkit under development at SCVO we wanted to get involved, especially as we knew that many other Councils would also be using it, and we would be able to share and compare data.

 It was at one of our Digital Champions Gatherings back in June, that we came up with the idea of holding a Dundee City Council Digital Skills Week to highlight and launch the SCVO Essential Skills toolkit.  We agreed that the week of 17th September would be perfect for this, actually quite a short timescale for the amount of planning required!

As the toolkit was not quite ready, we had a number of conversations back and forward with the helpful Claire Sharp at SCVO, keeping our fingers crossed it would be ready in time for Digital Skills week (it was). Meanwhile we planned other aspects of the week such as digital skills sessions, and ordered Digital Champion t-shirts!

We were clear that we needed to use various methods to raise awareness about the survey. We ran a short communications campaign on the Council intranet in the weeks leading up to 17th Sept. At the beginning of Digital Skills week we launched the survey via an ‘all staff’ email. We were very excited to realise that we had a couple of hundred responses within the first afternoon. The email was sent out again a week later as a reminder, producing another rush of responses.

Like many Councils we have a sizeable workforce who are not office-based and do not have access to the email system. We planned a series of outreach sessions to these staff groups, with the survey loaded onto tablets. This worked really well with our Digital Champions engaging with staff in canteens, care homes, and on the street. It was also an opportunity to talk to these staff groups about other digital matters such as accessing their payslips online.

By the end of Digital Skills week we were delighted to have approx. 700 survey responses. We left the survey open until the first week of November, and now have over 1000 responses. We are lucky to have the assistance of our Research and Information team to analyse the results, which we hope to have ready by end of November. Early indications are that the majority of the workforce have the essential digital skills in place, but we hope to be able to highlight any gaps and priority learning needs to be addressed. We will be sharing our findings with the Digital Office, so watch this space!

For information on the toolkit, Digital Champions training and more, go to the SCVO Digital homepage.