LGA Pathfinder Workshop Two

Leeds is one of nine councils awarded funding 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. 100% Digital Leeds have been funded to develop a Community-based Model to Increase Digital Inclusion and run a series of related workshops with five councils selected by LGA. Interested parties can follow our progress on the project Miro board. The resulting model will be published and launched in December this year.

Workshop two: Barriers, assets, and opportunities

The second workshop in the series of four broke down stage two of the community-based model. The session built upon the content of the previous, thinking about how we can understand the digital inclusion needs of the target community then use a strengths-based approach to identify potential solutions to overcoming those barriers.

We were joined by representatives from Coventry, East Riding of Yorkshire, West Berkshire, Plymouth, and London Borough of Bexley councils. These partners are working with us to sense-check the model, ensuring the content is useful for Local Authorities with a different geographical or demographic make up to Leeds, and councils at different points in their digital inclusion journey.

The session started with time for further reflection on workshop one. There were additional questions from partners on the background of 100% Digital Leeds, how Leeds City Council were motivated to take action on digital inclusion, and where the initial investment came from. These questions prompted us to include some additional context as a preface to the written model. This will take the form of links to existing pieces on the Digital Inclusion Toolkit, the site that will host the final model. Overall, partners reflected on  how content could be adapted to fit the needs of their council, and some have already begun to initiate changes in their practice as a result

“It’s changed my mindset on how to approach digital inclusion – rather than thinking about who is already doing it, I’m thinking about who has service users who could really benefit from digital within that setting?”

Workshop attendee

Stage two content and feedback

Stage two – Barriers, assets, and opportunities – has the following steps:

  1. Gathering information
  2. Identifying the barriers
  3. Identifying the assets
  4. Identifying the opportunities to do more

Discussions included:

  • understanding how we workshop with partners to gather insights needed to coproduce a community-based digital inclusion intervention
  • talking about barriers in the context of both the issues that cause Leeds residents to be digital excluded and the things in the way of community partners delivering more digital inclusion support
  • how we use a strengths-based approach to embed digital inclusion support into existing services in a way that is efficient and effective.

“The content is relatable and applicable, even considering the differences between a city like Leeds and a large, rural authority.”

Workshop attendee

The partnering authorities were overwhelmingly positive in their feedback but had some ideas on how the session content could be made even better. As a result of this feedback we will:

  • Include more example mini case-studies in the model, helping those using the model to understand how the principles might be applied in different contexts, such as with different communities
  • Emphasise the importance of digital inclusion awareness workshops as an opportunity to bring whole staff teams onboard from the start and have everyone’s voice heard
  • Include practical examples of how we collate information for signposting and keep organisations up to date with opportunities
  • Include more information on the importance of building and maintaining relationships with partners and workshopping ideas around resource-dependant maximisation of digital inclusion support to the success of digital funding bids

The workshop rounded off with time for partners to reflect on the programme as a whole and how working closely with the 100% Digital Leeds team has made an impact to date. We will showcase examples of how involvement in the programme has positively influenced the plans of partnering councils as part of the launch event which will take place towards the end of the year.

“It’s triggered questions for me about what this could look like in my authority and helped me to see how it could work within my own role.”

Workshop attendee