Last month, digital inclusion projects came together as part of the One Digital Community of Practice to share good practice on how to evaluate digital skills programmes.
The event focused on why and how to measure impact, and how evaluation tools can improve programme delivery.
One Digital’s Community of Practice aims to share learning and good practice to support the development of digital inclusion projects across the UK. Participants came from a wide range of organisations which have a shared interest in improving the effectiveness, reach and impact of their digital skills projects.
Speakers at the event shared their knowledge and experience. Anne Kazimirski from New Philanthropy Capital highlighted why it is important to measure impact and evaluate, and how organisations can make better decisions on which digital skills interventions are likely to be most effective, learn from their experiences, and improve.
Judith Peterka from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, outlined their plans for evaluating the Digital Skills Partnership, a group of public, private and charity sector organisations which aims to improve digital skills in the UK. This included the development of new data collection instruments and tools for measurement.
Sarah Cant, One Digital Programme Director and Sara Dunn, the programme’s evaluator, spoke about evaluating some of the successes of One Digital so far and how evaluation of the first phase of One Digital led the programme to where it is today. Tracy Riddell from RNIB shared the evaluation of their Online Today digital inclusion programme, including how they addressed challenges and what happened as a result of their approach.
Workshops were also held to share practice on how to measure the impact of digital skills projects on learners and Digital Champions, and to explore the value of partnerships in enhancing impact.
Kate Gallant, Learning Facilitator for One Digital, said: “I was really pleased with the high level of engagement and energy that came from all contributors and participants. Attendees told us they appreciated both the learning that was shared and the opportunity to discuss what is working well and not so well in evaluation practice. We have shared all the presentations and resources on the One Digital website so that more organisations can benefit from what we learned, even if they weren’t with us on the day.”
Resources and videos from the ‘Measuring the impact of digital inclusion’ event are available here.
Notes to editors
About One Digital
One Digital is a collaboration of five distinct organisations (Age UK, Citizens Online, Clarion Futures (Clarion Housing Group’s charitable foundation), Digital Unite and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations) working together toward a shared aim of helping people of all ages to access the benefits of digital technology.
Since the launch of the first phase in January 2016, the programme has successfully helped more than 11,000 people across the UK to get online, with many people saying the confidence and skills they gained had been ‘life changing’, from support for job hunting to social engagement. Additionally, over 1,000 Digital Champions have been recruited and trained, providing personal support to those seeking to get online, which has in turn improved their own confidence and digital expertise through helping others.
The Big Lottery Fund has since awarded One Digital further funding over three years to scale up proven approaches, transform digital skills delivery and ensure sustainability. One Digital now aims to reach 40,000 people through 4,000 Digital Champions, improving the digital skills of those most in need. Learning outcomes from the project’s’ Community of Practice will be made available to support good practice in digital inclusion.
The One Digital Partners
Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances.
One Digital Phase 2 will see multiple partners across regions transforming digital skills delivery for older people in areas with high digital exclusion. Delivered by local Age UK’s, older people will be supported to learn how digital skills can benefit them, for example by enabling them to keep in contact with loved ones, make savings by shopping online and pursue hobbies.
Citizens Online is a UK charity committed to researching, addressing and promoting the issues of digital inclusion. In collaboration with a wide range of partners, Citizens Online has been specialising in digital inclusion, skills and service transformation since 2000.
For One Digital they will embed One Digital and its Digital Champion model by using their flagship Switch approach. Switch is based on years of delivery experience and research and helps organisations increase uptake of their digital service transformation. Switch is a programme of evidence gathering, action planning and partnership development.
Citizens Online will use Switch to support the development of a long-term, scalable approach through action planning and partnership development across 20 locations. There is up to 50% match funding available from the Big Lottery Fund to support these 20 projects. Phase 2 will also enable a ‘deep dive’ in two locations, Brighton and Hove and Gwynedd (in the Welsh language), showing transformation in action.
Clarion Futures is part of Clarion Housing Group and is a registered charitable foundation. We will invest £150 million over ten years to deliver one of the largest social investment programmes in the country. Our mission is to provide social housing residents with the support, skills and opportunities to transform their lives and communities for the better.
Digital Unite is one of the UK’s leading providers of digital skills learning and the only organisation that focuses exclusively on vocational training and support for Digital Champions.
For One Digital, Digital Unite will continue to facilitate the Digital Champion infrastructure for each partner project using their existing online train-the-trainer platform, the Digital Champions Network. With their evidence base and a learner-led co-design process, they will be using new technologies and teaching approaches to radically extend the Network’s support. Digital Unite is also supporting individuals and organisations from a wide variety of sectors with establishing their own local Digital Champion movements underpinned by the Network’s products and services.
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the membership organisation for Scotland’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. A dedicated team is working across public, private and third sectors in Scotland to increase digital participation.
Their One Digital project will transform the Scottish third sector to become more digitally confident and capable. By creating a meaningful intervention at leadership, organisation and individual levels they will propel the third sector to the centre of the digital revolution.
About the Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invests over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Every year it funds 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness.