Launching the 100% Digital Leeds model for a community-based approach to digital inclusion

100% Digital Leeds is preparing to publish our model for a community-based approach to digital inclusion, so that other councils can adopt the principles to develop and implement their own inclusion interventions. The model sets out the stages and steps that can be followed by council officers leading digital inclusion who wish to adapt and apply the approach in their locality.

The 100% Digital Leeds team, part of the Integrated Digital Service (IDS) at Leeds City Council and Leeds Health and Care Partnership NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, was funded to write and publish the model as part of the Local Government Association (LGA) Digital Pathfinders Programme, designed to support councils seeking to innovate and develop pioneering initiatives to advance digital inclusion, digital connectivity, and cyber security. The model is the result of a 12-month project and will be published in early December.

“No single organisation can solve the issue of digital exclusion. The 100% Digital Leeds Community-based Approach is the ideal framework to demonstrate the great progress that can be achieved when we work together.”

Melanie Rawles, Libraries Development Manager for Plymouth City Council and Coordinator of Plymouth Digital Inclusion Network

The launch webinar

The model will be launched on Thursday 8th December with a 30-minute lunchtime webinar which will be an opportunity for local authorities to hear more about the approach, how they might benefit from adopting the approach, and where they can access the model when published. The webinar will be held on Zoom and free tickets are bookable at Eventbrite.

The webinar is hosted by 100% Digital Leeds in partnership with the LGA. Attendees will also hear from three local authorities about their impressions of the usability of the approach, elements of the approach they have already managed to adopt, and the positive impact they have already seen as a result. As part of the development process 100% Digital Leeds ran a series of workshops with five local authorities with different geographies and demographics, and different staffing and resource capacities, ensuring the approach is adaptable to the needs of different local authorities and the content transferable.

“By harnessing the expertise of the 100% Digital Leeds programme to create this model, the LGA and Leeds City Council want to demonstrate the importance of building knowledge and understanding across the local government digital inclusion landscape in order to support better outcomes for residents and communities.”

Tom Denman, Local Government Association

The community-based approach to digital inclusion

The 100% Digital Leeds community-based approach brings together key partners to design digital inclusion interventions based on the needs of a particular community. A community could be a geographic area, such as a ward or a town, or a community of interest, such as unpaid carers, older people, or people with learning disabilities. The approach uses and builds upon existing strengths and assets to create an intervention that is bespoke, sustainable, and able to scale and flex in response to changing needs. The resulting interventions are embedded within the existing support mechanisms around that community, strengthening the place to empower the person.

“This is a clear and practical model which we have been able to adapt from a city to an extensive rural setting successfully. Whilst this model covers every aspect of implementing and enabling the community-based approach, you can also use it as a ‘pick and mix’ to just use the elements you need – it’s very flexible. As a lone Digital Inclusion Officer covering a large area, this model has become my constant ‘go-to’, and whilst we don’t have a team, it always gives me practical deliverable support.”

Debbie Fagan, Digital Inclusion (Health) Officer for East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Digital inclusion at Leeds City Council

Initiated by a Leeds City Council Scrutiny Board inquiry in 2015, the council continues to invest in a permanent team to lead the digital inclusion programme and drive the digital inclusion agenda across the city. The 100% Digital Leeds team works with over 200 organisations, teams, settings, and services. To date the team has brought over £2million of external funding into the city, an amount that has gone directly to third sector organisations, supporting capacity and building the digital inclusion ecosystem across Leeds. As well as speaking at dozens of national conferences, roundtables, and forums, the 100% Digital Leeds team has shared aspects of the approach with almost 100 councils on an individual basis.

“It is often said that no one should be left behind as we advance technically and technologically, but this does not happen by magic. It requires sustained investment to ensure there is consistent leadership and focus on digital inclusion as a city priority. I’m immensely proud of the outcomes that the 100% Digital team is generating for our city. Their work is imperative and fundamental to meet the ambitions of Leeds.”  

Leonardo Tantari, Chief Digital and Information Officer, Leeds City Council and NHS (Leeds) West Yorkshire ICB