Wigan’s Digital Taskforce (full range of partners)

Wigan’s Digital Taskforce

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/ service

Wigan Council has developed a bold and ambitious Digital Strategy. The driving force is the Digital Taskforce; representing a unique and collaborative approach bringing together cross-sector partners to jointly tackle digital exclusion and engage directly with residents. Our agreed digital ambition is for all residents to be able to connect to a device with the confidence, motivation and skill to access digital services.

The Taskforce consists of representatives from the council, business, local education providers, community interest groups and the voluntary sector. Fundamental to the Taskforce is a successful in-house digital inclusion monitoring tool. This documents qualitative and quantitative achievements from all Taskforce partners enabling targets to be monitored and successes to be celebrated. This contributes to a robust digital inclusion delivery model; enabling residents to digitally engage and experience the broader benefits of being online.

This data collection is unique to Wigan and embraces the spirit of The Deal: Council and community working together to deliver tangible outcomes in a co-designed framework with mutual benefits.

Why do you think it should win this award?

The Digital Taskforce personifies a new delivery model driven by a diverse range of key local stakeholders better placed to understand the digital needs of our community. This has enabled the development of responsive programs of work based on community knowledge and expertise furthering our ambition for innovative access to public services.

The Taskforce has worked collaboratively to deliver high impact local digital festivals celebrating the benefits of being online and creating opportunities for residents to learn. These include GO Fest 2015 and the upcoming ‘Destination Digital’ conference and community day in October 2016.

The Taskforce uses a holistic approach, one that hooks residents into the digital world based around their interests as well as their needs. In addition to delivering learning based around connecting residents with online council services, Taskforce partners have created new avenues of digital engagement such as: employability skills, coding, wellbeing, creativity, family learning and tackling social isolation.

What are the key achievements?

Digital inclusion performance has been strong (see below), with excellent progress having been made in engaging children and young people, and also, as a newer strand of work, reaching parents and carers to capitalise on safe digital opportunities for younger residents.

Year to date we have attained almost 98% achievement against the challenging target for total number of residents reached.

We believe this demonstrates the reality that we have made excellent inroads in reaching residents who were offline, and that we now need to find ways to engage with those residents who are more resistant to moving online. This is a natural progression, giving the huge success we enjoyed in the first year of the digital strategy (2015-16) in reaching over 100% of our target in this area.

Total number residents reached 7,971 (97.68%)
Number of support hours provided by digital volunteers 5,215 (130.38%)
Number of residents accessing work opportunities via digital platforms 68,694
Number of Children and Young People reached (0-16 year olds) 1,874 (124.93%)
Number of coding sessions delivered 69
Number of parents attending digital parent courses 163
Total number of people aged 55+ supported 1,062 (124.94%)