Exploring digital capability and confidence, to enable tailored training programmes to be developed to drive the take up of digital servicing

Full Application: Not funded at this stage

Across all councils there is a desire to encourage residents to move to online servicing. This creates a better and more efficient service in the community and reduces the cost to serve, reduces the time to delivery and creating a more satisfying experience.


We know that the members of communities most in need of support are often the members of the community that have least access and experience of using online services successfully.


Technology can be daunting.


Key to supporting people in transitioning to digital services are our people that work in our councils. We need highly confident, ‘non-techie’ individuals, that represent all demographics to support people in becoming confident and capable in using our digital services are we launch them.


Many councils have a comprehensive tech stack in place, and have already launched digital servicing. However, few have a friendly army of individuals who can gently guide people into confidently using these services.


We have reviewed the programme that has taken place in Salford, where the council has worked with Barclays Digital Eagles to train up over 300 Salford Council Digital Eagles, we can see an opportunity to repeat this program elsewhere, and would like to test it in 3 further council regions.

Our hypothesis is that the answer to peoples’ reluctance to take up digital servicing is a very human problem. This is particularly true for older employees and residents who find some of the basics of using technology and the internet daunting and confusing.


Helping people get to grips with devices, broadband and other foundational elements opens up a world of opportunity, way beyond the interactions with the councils – it can lead to better family communication and reconnect individuals with friends and family that have moved away. The benefits are exponential.


The research methodology for this work will be face-to-face, and 121, coupled with data analytics. Council volunteers will be trained up, and will then work with people in ‘tea and teach sessions’, and through providing one to one support.


Volunteers will become part of a community of ‘Digital Eagles’ and will become the mouthpiece of the local community in helping develop the digital services of the future.


We are recommending trialling this across the 3 council listed to ensure that the rollout programme is not biased by a single region’s particular needs.


We have seen this work successfully in Salford, where since January 2018 over 300 council volunteers have qualified as Digital Eagles, using the Barclays Digital Eagles programme, leading to over 3000 training interactions. They aim to deliver 2,500 training interactions in 2019, and see this snowballing.


It has also led to improved satisfaction for employees.


Keely Stones – Salford Digital Eagle Journey

“I wanted to help Salford council in their goal to get more people online to help themselves by completing digital wings courses, and I wanted to share my skills.”

53% of UK Business leaders feel their industry is facing significant digital disruption, but 47% have no formal digital transformation in place.

90% of new jobs require advanced digital skills those lacking skills often lack the confidence required to ask for help.


The adoption of digital technology could boost UK manufacturing by £455bn over the next decade, increasing sector growth up to 3% per year, and creating a net gain of 175,000 jobs.


Across the UK* (*Lloyds Digital Skills index) –

  • 11.3 million people (21%) lack the full basic digital skills
  • 5.4 million working adults (10%) are without basic digital skills
  • people with a registered disability are 4 times as likely to be offline
  • 28% of those aged 60+ are offline


We need to close this gap – the benefits will be exponential. No-one should be left behind.


Investing in digital skills for Salford’s employees and residents is investing in Salford’s future prosperity and brings potential life changing economic, wellbeing and social inclusion.


85% of our residents would use digital self-serve facilities if they could, or if they were improved and available* (*Sourced from Salford Digital Strategy report).


For Southampton City Council – Doing things more digitally helps the council to run more efficiently.


We want to automate processes; it costs almost nothing to take payments online, when compared with taking cash and cheques to the bank – and growing the digital skills of our staff would enable them to become more productive by being able to work flexibly from anywhere.


For Southampton residents – we want to make the digital option so quick and easy that they will rarely need to pick up the phone.


Digital information and services should be easy to access, mobile-friendly and designed so you can complete the whole task online, without needing to be in Southampton, and available 24/7, at the time that you need it the most.


43% of Southampton residents used the council’s website, and we would like them to continue that journey, completing actions via this channel and encourage day to day use of the website.


For Sheffield City Council our hypothesis is that it’s about helping colleagues, improving Digital Literacy across our workforce, and building their confidence to pass on their knowledge to residents.


‘Better by Digital Services’ will exploit new ways of delivering services that provides a better experience and is the lowest cost delivery channel.


Offered will be self-service options that more efficient and reduce the need for paper by using central document management and workflow. Services be brought to market faster, and will recognize and support customers who are digitally excluded to help them achieve the same outcomes as others in the city.


It is our ambition that services will be accessible to all, easy to use, intuitive and consistent. This work will ensure that our services are built and delivered with true insight regarding our customer needs


Together, Salford, Sheffield and Southampton Councils would like to focus on embedding the Barclays UK Digital Eagle Programme to proactively create a network of digitally confident, knowledgeable and empowered colleagues that will lead on up-skilling our wider business and resident population in getting comfortable and confident online.


There is a positive financial impact for our residents also, by sharing knowledge and skills that grow their ability and confidence online, this will aid them in becoming up to £744 better off a year* (*Sourced Good Things Foundation Report 2016)

  • Weekly project call/virtual call in place with partners and Barclays UK Digital Eagle Programme to review objectives, priorities, knowledge session feedback and outputs/idea generation and all post activity lead by Digital Eagles; this will be embedded prior to the session delivery to oversee logistical support and finalise operating rhythm and priorities, right through to capturing post activity and reviewing the learns and challenges/successes identified in creating a digitally inclusive organisation
  • Distribution/communication to enable two-way communication for digital eagles within each council – striving to share best practise, learns and update
  • SharePoint/Intranet system in place to record all activity by Digital Eagles, this will be collated on a weekly basis and shared to Barclays UK Digital Eagle programme

Barclays UK Digital Eagle Programme will collate a summary view across 3 partner councils as well as individual analysis on interaction themes with residents and colleagues; what digital skills are we providing, how is this impacting colleague/resident engagement and confidence, digital processes now adopted as a result of Digital Eagle support, any challenges/barriers, any successes or highlighting of any new process/services to evolve upskill and engagement

No additional support needed