Local Digital Skills Playbook

Digital skills are vitally important for people and organisations. Digital is already part of everyday life and is changing the world of work in fundamental ways.

But 11.3 million adults in the UK still lack the basic digital skills required to safely benefit from, participate in and contribute to the digital world. The UK digital skills productivity gap in the workplace has been estimated at £63 billion a year, and too few young people are being equipped with the digital skills necessary for roles in the tech sector.

At a national level, there is evidence of a mismatch between the digital skills people and organisations need and the opportunities available to supply these skills. But this mismatch should be addressed at a local level, where need - and the barriers to addressing it - can be better identified.

Local organisations and people can work together to ensure everyone has the right digital skills and that’s why we're working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to encourage the development of Local Digital Skills Partnerships.

Local Digital Skills Partnerships bring together local partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors to take action on digital skills. There are three already up and running, and lots of other local initiatives making a big impact on digital skills.

To inspire and support more areas to move forward on digital skills, we've started putting together a Playbook on how to start a Local Digital Skills Partnership. You can take a look at what we have so far by clicking the link below.

The value of the Playbook will lie in the quality of the 'Plays' (case studies). So if you have an example of good practice, we'd love to hear about it!

We're looking for examples of actions and initiatives, case studies showing successes, and lessons you have learned that could inform the work of others.

The Playbook is structured around a six-step model that reflects each of the potential steps in increasing digital skills in a local area. Choose the step you think is most relevant to you, and complete the Google Form linked to it. We'll then review the information you've provided with DCMS, and consider how it can feature in the Playbook.

Recognise Need and Build the Partnership

At the outset, it is important that local partners recognise a need for digital skills support that they can act upon. A Local Digital Skills Partnership needs to form around a shared recognition that digital skills are critical for the local economy and the local community and that more can be achieved by working together.

What have you done to identify a need for action on digital skills in your area?


Gather Data

Once the need is recognised, you'll have to do some research to find out more about what's required for your local area. 

You'll need to gather data from a range of sources to establish:

  • what digital skills the local economy needs
  • where people lack essential, general or specialist digital skills, and where the skills shortages are amongst employers based in the area
  • what digital skills provision exists in the area, how it is targeted, and what its outputs and impact are.

What have you done to gather the necessary data to create a local partnership in digital skills?


Match Provision to Needs

Once you know what you need and where it's needed. you need to pinpoint how you're going to deliver it. Start by:

  • sharing your findings with organisations and people, helping them understand what the analysis means
  • identifying ways in which any mismatch could be addressed - this could include:
    • building on existing digital skills initiatives, finding funding and resources to extend activity
    • Creating or commissioning new digital skills initiatives to fill gaps, building partnerships that can lead on these
    • Putting in place new infrastructure to support digital skills activity (information, advice and signposting).
  • developing a clear way of understanding how the activities you decide to focus on fit together and can be managed. 

How have you developed a local action plan to increase digital skills, drawing on data, insight and analysis?


Deliver Digital Skills

Once you have created an Action Plan, with the commitment of organisations and people in the Partnership to take forward those actions, it’s time to start delivering. It's a good idea to set up a governance structure to manage delivery, ensure clear lines of responsibility and to enable monitoring and reporting.

How are you managing the delivery of digital skills programmes across your area?


Monitor and Evaluate

Once you've set up your Local Digital Skills Partnership, it is critical to understand the impact your work is having. You need to ensure the right allocation of resource from partners, and to optimise delivery models and approaches. Digital skills impact a wide range of social, environmental and economic indicators in a local area, so you should be broad in your evaluation of the Partnership’s impact.

What have you done to monitor and evaluate the impact of digital skills delivery in your area?


Share With Others

This Playbook is an open resource, designed to make it easy to share best practice in local digital skills, but it's not the only way to communicate about best practice.

When you have evaluated your activity - or during the evaluation, as you gather formative evidence of impact - you should consider how what you have gathered could help other areas. Digital skills support is broad and to have an impact at a national level, everyone needs to work together. Sharing your experiences can help build the national movement for change we need in order to thrive in the digital world of the future.

Have you shared the learning from your local approach to digital skills - if so, how? Did you use any online tools?


This Playbook is part of: