Digital Participation: A National Framework for Local Action

A national framework that underpins local action to help individuals and businesses improve levels of digital participation.

4. Building a national movement


Digital is an enabling technology which has the ability to transform the way that organisations operate and the way that we manage our lives. Our vision is for Scotland to be a world leading digital nation by 2020, and while good progress is being made in delivering digital infrastructure, more needs to be done to create the demand for new connectivity and ensure that people across Scottish society share in the benefits it can bring. An economically vibrant and inclusive Digital Scotland hinges on everyone being creative in their use of technology, innovative in developing services and applications and comfortable using the internet as an everyday, anytime, anywhere technology to enrich their lives. Whilst we recognise that a cultural change of this magnitude is a huge and complex undertaking, which cannot be achieved without support and commitment across business, education and the wider public and voluntary sectors, we also believe that Scotland is well placed to make this happen.

An integrated digital strategy

Scottish Government's Digital Strategy was set out in Scotland's Digital Future: A Strategy for Scotland, published in March 2011. This sets out the actions required to ensure that Scotland is able to take advantage of the opportunities of the digital age.

The Strategy consists of four inter-related strands:

  • Infrastructure: Provide Scotland with a step change in the extent and quality of its digital infrastructure through the roll out of next generation broadband and ensure that the country has a world class digital infrastructure by 2020
  • Participation: Grow levels of digital participation by businesses and individuals, so that Scotland has the highest rates of participation among UK countries by end 2015
  • Economy: Encourage a vibrant and thriving digital economy where our research base and companies are recognised internationally and our future workforce have the digital skills they need to succeed
  • Public Services: Deliver a single, but not exclusive, point of entry to all digital public services at national and local level. will make it easier and simpler to find information, provide a secure and easy way for individuals to access public services online, and define the standards by which digital services are developed in ways that meet user needs.

The Scottish Government has established a single, integrated digital directorate to oversee and ensure the delivery of this strategy in a coordinated manner. The recently launched Digital Scotland website ( summarises the progress that is being made with each element of the strategy, as well as signposting opportunities for those who wish to get involved and play their part in making it happen.

Partnership-led delivery network

Partnerships are essential if we are to propel Scotland into the front rank of digital countries across the world. At the highest level the Scottish Government's commitment to partnership working is reflected in the creation of a Ministerial Advisory Group on Digital Participation, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs and consisting of a small group of experts from business, academia, local government and the third sector. This group meets periodically to consider strategic issues relating to digital participation and will help assess the progress made as a result of the publication of this strategy.

Scottish Government has a leadership role and will act as a catalyst to create effective partnerships, identify gaps in delivery and facilitate the development of suitable solutions. Our approach to partnership working is defined by a determination to:

  • identify and work with partners that are best placed to engage with the people we are trying to reach because they are already trusted to give advice and support
  • ensure that these partners are themselves supported in developing their digital competence and understanding, so that they have skills, time and resources to deliver high quality advice and support to end users
  • work collaboratively towards the common goal of building a world class Digital Scotland, as part of a single national movement that pools talent and resources, operates under a single brand and cuts across organisational boundaries.

This approach is reflected in a range of partnerships that are being developed to promote digital inclusion across all sectors of the economy:

  • in business: where our commitment to getting companies online and developing the skills that businesses need to compete is complemented by a commitment to ensure that business advisors and support staff in our enterprise agencies are trained on digital issues
  • in the third sector: where our support for working with voluntary organisations to reach some of our most excluded groups is matched by our support for attracting digital talent, developing digital skills and promoting the use of digital technologies by those groups themselves in order to promote efficiency and improve frontline services
  • in the public sector: where our determination to deliver user focussed digital public services is enhanced by an industry-led digital awareness programme for public sector leaders and the creation of a team of specialists within the Scottish Government to set standards and offer technical support to digital leaders across the sector.

Digital Participation Charter

The Digital Participation Charter lies at the heart of our approach to building levels of digital participation across Scotland. Launched originally in 2011, the Charter has now been refreshed in order to set out how organisations can contribute to our ambition by working in partnership to increase participation. All organisations that commit to the Charter agree to:

  • ensuring that all their staff and volunteers have an opportunity to learn basic online skills and that they take advantage of this opportunity.
  • encouraging and supporting their staff and volunteers to help other people learn basic online skills, and help other organisations to embrace digital tools
  • contributing resources and practical support for digital participation initiatives in Scotland in whatever ways they can
  • channelling their efforts through the Digital Participation Programme, so that their activities can be coordinated for maximum impact and measured consistently
  • using common language based on digital participation and basic online skills, to make their thinking and actions as clear as possible.

In order to support Charter signatories to deliver these commitments, the Scottish Government has funded a dedicated team within the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, led by a Director of Digital Participation. This team is charged with creating a wide and effective partnership network across all sectors of the Scottish economy by:

  • acting as a "matchmaker"- identifying complimentary partners and funding / resource opportunities
  • developing and managing the tools, resources and information required by Charter signatories in order to help them deliver on their Charter commitments
  • agreeing and delivering a nation plan, in conjunction with national and local government, to promote digital participation which brings meaningful benefits to people who are currently digitally excluded
  • promoting digital skills and the use of digital technology within the third sector itself
  • working with other organisations across these islands (such as GoOnUK and its partners) and further afield to achieve the shared goal of tackling digital exclusion.

Securing resources

The Digital Participation team at SCVO will lead Scotland's national effort to identify and secure additional resources to promote digital participation. These include direct financial resources from national, local and European sources, as well as contributions in kind from partners across all sectors of the economy. Early opportunities include potential funding from the Big Lottery Fund and the resources that are anticipated to be made available by UK Government to assist people to access vital benefits and services online. A national partnership comprising the private, public and third sectors will be well placed to secure and, more importantly, deploy resources across our country in innovative and engaging ways.

Let's get on

The Let's get on campaign has been created to give a high profile public face to our national movement for change.

Let's get on

It will provide a consistent, high profile way of communicating messages about the benefits of digital participation to both organisations and citizens across our country and will carry the new Digital Scotland logo to demonstrate that increasing digital participation is fundamental to our ambition to create and sustain a world class digital country. The campaign will be used by all our partners in order to promote digital participation and will be seen on:

  • advertising
  • relevant street furniture such as digital cabinets
  • technology roadshows
  • online and offline training materials
  • training centres
  • conferences, events and workshops
  • activity undertaken by signatories of the Digital Participation Charter.


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