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Trailblazing digital team in line for a top national award

A team who has delivered nearly 3,000 learning tutorials and created a series of countywide digital networking events over the past year has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

The digital team at Dorset Council are one of the finalists in the ‘Digital Public Service Innovation of the Year’ category of the Digital Leaders 100 Awards.

Between them they established a Digital Network encompassing all sectors of the community where people can share information about digital developments through eclectic and informal events.

They have created a digital podcast capturing a wide range of topics including digital skills, robotics, aquaculture and rural connectivity. This is the first public sector podcast of its kind and has generated over 400 positive comments.

A comprehensive digital skills programme for council staff and residents now provides support over the phone and online on a wide range of digital issues. The programme is delivered by a mix of volunteer Digital Champions, who are mostly retired IT professionals, and council staff.

Collaboration with partners has been key to the team’s success. Dorset Council is a member of a ‘Power Up’ consortium working with Good Things Foundation to improve employment prospects for unemployed people in Bournemouth. The digital team also works with Job Clubs to support Universal Credit applicants, with Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to support ‘Maternity Matters’ and with housing associations to help tenants improve their digital skills.

A report last year from Citizens Online told KeeP 106: “Dorset Council has made outstanding progress in many areas to support digital inclusion. In our experience of working in over fifty communities around the UK, it’s evident that Dorset Council and the [digital team] are amongst the most advanced organisations in their approach.”

Councillor Gary Suttle, Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth and Skills, Dorset Council said: “It’s great to know that we’ve been shortlisted for a national award, which recognises our concerted work to improve and enhance our digital services for Dorset residents.”

Dorset Council has three finalists in the Digital Leaders 100 Awards. You can vote for all three finalists.

You can vote for Digital skills and awareness and Supporting children and young people in Dorset to access education in the Digital Public Sector
Innovation category here: digileaders100.com/digital-public-service-innovation

You can vote for Sam McLaren in the Digital Leaders 100 Awards here: digileaders100.com/young-digital-leader

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