Organisational Digital Skills for Life

Full Application: Not funded at this stage

We are seeking to adopt a whole organisation approach to embedding digital skills across the workforce. It is essential that we seek to equip our employees with the skills, knowledge and understanding to live, learn and work in a digital society.

‘Digital for Life’ is key to successful transformational change from strategic leadership to delivery in practice. As such, it is important to understand existing employee digital skills levels and identify skills gaps in order to most effectively sign-post and steer individuals towards the most appropriate learning resources.

Our networking has indicated this common issue, with many local authorities choosing to take a simpler approach by means of inviting employees to respond to a digital skills survey in order to gauge digital skills levels from an organisation wide perspective.

Pre-discovery research identified the Essential Digital Skills Framework developed by the Tech Partnership. The framework however lacks a robust means by which to measure individuals against the requirements.

Further pre-discovery research has also led us to the digital capability discovery tool developed by Jisc specifically for educational establishments.

This project aims to discover whether there is value in pursuing the development of a robust digital skills assessment tool and how emerging tools and frameworks in the education sector can be potentially be adapted for the local government sector

The project aim is to better understand the need, value and business case for developing a ‘health check’ approach to determine digital skills required to deliver digital transformation across the local government sector

We will have SMART objectives for each of the project sprints that align to the project success criteria to measure if the objectives have been met. The delivery of the final business case is shown in the below table

Deadline Event / activity Milestone
17th Dec 2018
  • Virtual project start up meeting arranged with project partners
  • Agreed PID and approach to procurement of specialist support
Project start up
7th Jan 2019
  • Procurement of specialist support
  • Agreed allocation of internal resources
  • Core team established
Additional specialist capacity identified and project team ready to start discovery activities
28th Jan 2019
  • User research, data analysis, information gathering and assessment
  • Understanding of value add from current approaches and difficulties
  • Test hypothesis and assumptions
Confirmation of current problem and opportunity
4th Feb 2019
  • Review research findings with partners and across digital slack channel
Agreed focus of options development
25th Feb 2019
  • Detailed research of appropriate options/ tools
  • Research of other tools and frameworks across public and private sector
  • Engage with potential developers/ suppliers
  • Test hypothesis of potential tools with partners
Understanding of potential tools and level of development required
11th Mar 2019
  • Value for money analysis
  • Product options analysis
  • Option appraisal
Draft business case
18th Mar 2019
  • Review business case findings with partners and across digital slack channel
Local government sector engagement to inform business case findings and recommendations
25th Mar 2019
  • Finalise full business case and recommendations report
Discovery outputs produced and shared


  • Lack of investment in digital skills to facilitate successful programmes of change will lead to digital investment that:-
    • doesn’t realise the intended benefits of the significant investment through inadequate or inappropriate use of the tech capabilities
    • is slower or more difficult to implement and therefore cost benefits are not realised within the expected payback period
  • Enhancing employee digital skills will facilitate buy in for transformation across the organisation thereby improving productivity

Benefits to local people/ residents

  • Embedding Digital for life will impact on organisational culture giving greater autonomy to individuals. A structured approach will build the capacity and capability of the workforce will therefore positively impact and improve services delivered to the community
  • Digital transformation will enable organisations to be focussed on user needs and be customer centric with employees skilled to deal with demand ‘one stop’ as far as possible utilising technologies, thereby reducing ineffective silo based approaches
  • Improved digital skills will enable employees to assist local people to use digital services
  • Organisations will be more able to meet increasing user expectations and deliver VFM

Benefits to Public Service Providers

  • Digital transformation programmes set out the activity required to transform services but do not identify the skills, knowledge and understanding employees will require to execute this. Given the pace and breadth of transformational change councils are seeking to deliver, it is important to have a structured approach to understanding and supporting all employees organisation wide, without which organisations have the potential for developing two-tiered digital skills and capability
  • Should this project proceed to ‘alpha’ development the product is intended to meet needs of organisations across the public sector, building on developments that have already commenced in the education sector
  1. Our pre-discovery work has enabled us to start to understand how local authorities are trying to assess employee digital capabilities. We need to know whether our thoughts and hypothesis are right, if the development of a robust diagnostic tool will be of value across the local govt sector, facilitating transformation at the required pace.

We also believe there to be a lack of capacity across our sector to develop a more effective digital skills assessment tool, hence most authorities using basic survey methodology. Some authorities like ourselves have already discovered and approached Jisc.

We intend to work both with our project partners but also engaging across the sector through the digital slack channel at relevant stages of the project to test and review our findings and assumptions, gathering information and helping us to extrapolate countrywide savings and benefits.

By 25th March 2019 we will produce the following outputs:

Output Action
User research report Research to understand and clarify digital skills assessment needs across local government, the value of current methodologies and practices whilst considering ideal methodologies and tools that would more effectively meet user’s needs.

We will publish all outputs on digital slack channel for review prior to progressing the business case. A final user research report will also be produced.

Business case We will consider all product options, working with potential developers in the education sector to understand and build a robust analysis of cost and timescales, if successful to inform a future alpha project.

We will provide a detailed options appraisal which considers the extent to which various products would meet user needs and deliver benefits across the local govt sector.

We will publish the draft business case on digital slack channel for review prior to progressing finalising the full business case.

A summary report & recommendations We will produce a report that either proposes how to take this project forward to alpha stage or explains why the work should not continue. We have the last week of March reserved for this work to ensure that the deadline is met.
Proposed digital skills framework and methodologies Based on our research we will recommend the most appropriate digital skills for life framework and the most effective means for organisations to apply this framework.

The project aim is to better understand the need, value and business case for developing a ‘health check’ approach to determine digital skills required to deliver digital transformation across the local government sector.

Our users will therefore be a range of local authorities who have either already tried to develop a means of understanding digital skills gaps across their organisation, or who have an intention and needs but have lacked capacity to take further. User research will initially focus on those who have signed the digital declaration and therefore have made a commitment to digital transformation.

Our user research will also incorporate the education sector who are currently piloting the Building Digital Capabilities service and digital capabilities tool developed by Jisc. We would seek to understand how effectively the digital capabilities tool, currently in beta phase, has met the needs of those organisations and its staff and students.

User research will enable the project team to discover whether there is value in pursuing the development of a robust digital skills assessment tool and how emerging tools and frameworks in the education sector can be potentially be adapted for the local government sector.

We have discussed with Southwark and considered the other second stage application for scaling service design and agile methods in local government to transform services. The 2 are separate as this bid is about all digital skills and measurement of digital skills. We will be learning from each other’s findings and ensuring we compliment and integrate each other’s work, not replicate it

We would appreciate support accessing and commissioning the most appropriate specialist support from the digital and learning marketplace.

no previous funding requests