08 Dec 2022
Council’s switched-on digital programme wins national recognition
Leeds City Council has been hailed as a national trailblazer for its efforts to ensure people from all backgrounds and communities can tap into the transformative power of the internet.
The council’s 100% Digital Leeds team works with organisations, groups and services across the city with the aim of helping every local resident get both access to the web and, crucially, the motivation and know-how required to make the most of the opportunities it offers.
As part of this work, the team has developed an innovative approach to tackling digital exclusion which delivers schemes and solutions that are tailored to meet the specific needs of individual communities.
The communities involved can be geographic – for example, a ward or a town in the Leeds area – or linked to a particular social group, such as older people or those from disadvantaged backgrounds, who may not otherwise have the means or inclination to go online.
And the impressive results achieved by the 100% Digital Leeds team – part of the council’s Integrated Digital Service (IDS) – have now seen its community-based approach confirmed as an example of best practice for local authorities nationwide.
The team was recently awarded funding from the Local Government Association (LGA) to produce a guide to the approach that can be followed by other councils.
The guide will be launched with a webinar which is being hosted today (Thursday, December 8) by 100% Digital Leeds in partnership with the LGA.
Both the guide and the webinar will underline the ways in which the council’s digital strategy complements its wider work making sure Leeds is a compassionate city where people have the right tools to fulfil their potential.
Councillor Debra Coupar, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for resources, said:
“The work being done by our 100% Digital Leeds team has a hugely important role to play in helping people from all communities reap the full benefits of being online, from increasing employment, training and volunteering opportunities and managing their finances or their health and wellbeing, to getting better connected socially.
“The team is making a big difference to lives in Leeds, and it’s a real source of pride that they have now been singled out for national recognition.
“Congratulations to everyone involved – I’m sure the guide will be welcomed and well-used by other councils around the country.”
Jason Tutin, digital inclusion manager for Leeds City Council’s Integrated Digital Service, said:
“100% Digital Leeds is one of the most successful and well-respected digital inclusion programmes in the country. We work with over 200 organisations, teams, settings and services across Leeds, and have brought over £2m of external funding into the city to strengthen the digital inclusion infrastructure in communities to increase access, engagement and participation.
“As well as speaking at dozens of national conferences, we have shared aspects of our approach with almost 100 councils on an individual basis.
“For the first time, we are publishing our 100% Digital Leeds community-based approach to digital inclusion so that all councils can adopt, adapt and apply the principles in their area.”
Leonardo Tantari, chief digital and information officer for Leeds City Council and the NHS (Leeds) West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, said:
“The 100% Digital Leeds team in IDS provides consistent leadership and focus on digital inclusion as a city priority. Its work is imperative and fundamental to meet the ambitions of Leeds, and the ambitions of our digital strategy.
“We must work together across all organisations and sectors to ensure digital is about more than just deploying new technology. We must ensure that everyone is included, engaged, motivated, skilled, confident, equipped and involved in our collective digital journey. I’m immensely proud of the outcomes that the 100% Digital Leeds team is generating for our city.”
Examples of positive results brought about by Leeds’s community-based approach include:
- Helping the Gipton-based Old Fire Station community venue to secure the funding and resources needed to run digital skills drop-in sessions for local people;
- Providing support that has enabled organisations working with older people in Leeds to recruit digital inclusion staff and develop device lending schemes;
- Working with a quartet of third sector partners – St Anne’s Resource Centre, Simon on the Streets, Barca Housing Navigators and Our Way Leeds – to explore ways of dealing with the especially-challenging digital exclusion issues affecting homeless people;
- Linking up with the Barclays Digital Eagles scheme to run training sessions for care home staff who want to help residents make good use of the internet.
Funding for the new guide was awarded to Leeds via the LGA’s Digital Pathfinders Programme, which supports councils that are seeking to develop initiatives to improve digital inclusion, digital connectivity and cyber security.
The 100% Digital Leeds team ran workshops for five local authorities while it was putting together the guide, and today’s webinar is due to hear from some of the councils that took part in those sessions.
Notes to editors:
For media enquiries contact:
Leeds City Council Communications team