An independent 2-year evaluation has shown that our Digital Champions Network (DCN) gives organisations the impetus (or fillip) to get digital inclusion started – providing them with the framework they need to drive forward digital skills programmes.
The findings showed that, amongst housing providers, local councils and charities, our online learning platform is enabling a more mature approach to digital inclusion. As well as giving Digital Champions the confidence to engage and support others, the Network also has training and tools for those leading and embedding digital skills programmes.
Supporting a whole-organisation approach to improving digital skills
During the evaluation organisations were measured at the start of their engagement with the DCN and then again nine months later. There was clear evidence that during this relatively short time, being part of the DCN positively impacted an organisation’s overall approach to supporting essential digital skills at both a strategic and operational level.
As a complete support system, the Network helped focus organisational attention on the need to integrate essential digital skills support into an overall digital strategy and gave project managers the knowledge and skills for planning Digital Champion projects, that they would have otherwise lacked.
Helping organisations integrate their Digital Champion support into their services
Organisations were also asked about the levels of integration of Digital Champion activities into their organisation’s work, and whether this had changed whilst a member of the DCN. At the time of joining the Network only a third of organisations considered digital inclusion and skills support to be an integral part of their services. Nine months later, this had risen to over two-thirds.
Three important ways the DCN enables digital inclusion in organisations
- Increasing the management team’s knowledge and confidence about digital skills support generally and about how to implement a DC programme
“Our approach to digital skills support has definitely changed since we joined the DCN. Once I had completed the training, I felt better able to plan the DC programme, I understood better what was required. If I had not had the DCN I have no idea how I would have gone about it. I suppose I would have worked it out, but it would have taken much longer.”
- Helping ‘sell’ the idea within the organisation
“With the DCN I have had the confidence to promote digital workshops throughout the country in our different regions. This is raising awareness and putting digital at the forefront of what we do.”
- Helping management to understand the importance of essential digital skills support as part of their overall digital strategy:
“The membership of the DCN has helped focus people’s minds in the organisation about the importance of supporting digital inclusion alongside the digital development of services…. It made people realise that the digital skills and confidence of our residents are essential if the digital strategy is to work.”
Kathy Valdes, Managing Director at Digital Unite said: “We were truly delighted with this independent evaluation of our DCN, and over a good chunk of time; it evidences all that we know and have seen in the field. We know that delivering a Digital Champion programme needs considerable and sustained commitment from the organisation at all levels to realise its full impact. That is why our Network does more than successfully train people as Digital Champions. It has CPD-accredited courses for project managers, toolkits for establishing the programme, both internally and externally and reporting tools to co-ordinate activities and measure impact.
“As this research shows the Network’s complete service provides a solid foundation to get digital inclusion started and an effective enabler for meaningful digital skills support. We continue to build and extend our DCN offer and are really excited about extending its reach, expertise and support into the new decade.”
Give digital inclusion the fillip in your organisation and join our Digital Champions Network today!
To find out more call Kathy on 0800 228 9272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
*fillip [ˈfɪlɪp] NOUN - something which acts as a stimulus or boost to an activity.
 The evaluation was conducted over 2 years by Sara Dunn Associates as part of One Digital, the national Lottery Community Fund digital skills programme. The research included 87 organisation baseline surveys and 33 follow up surveys and interviews.