West Lancashire Borough Council is signing the digital skills charter to pledge its commitment to improving basic digital skills in the local community.
The Digital Skills Charter is an initiative led by Go ON UK, a national charitable organisation. It aims to make the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation and the charter has attracted support from dozens of public and private sector organisations.
The Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Moran, said: “By signing the Digital Skills Charter, the Council is making public our commitment to play our part in assisting local residents, and Council staff, to gain the basic digital skills that are so vital in the world today. We are already working with partner organisations in West Lancashire and we hope this will help motivate other organisations to sign up and play their part.”
The signing of the charter follows the launch of the Council’s first Digital Inclusion Strategy, which set outs how it will work with partners to boost skill levels, raise awareness, and help more people get connected to the internet and benefit from its use.
Signing the charter also supports a wider aim to increase the number of residents using the Council’s online services, which in the long term will help make efficiency improvements.
Action the Council has already taken includes launching a new, mobile-friendly website in 2014; working to improve and extend information and services available through the website; holding events with partners to help people get online. Other projects in the pipeline include recruiting and training community digital champions, investigating cheaper broadband for residents and trialling public WiFi hotspots in a number of locations.
Basic online skills are defined by Go ON UK (external link) as the ability to manage information, communicate, buy and sell, solve problems and create digital content. Helping people gain these skills and use the internet helps to tackle wider social issues, assists people to move into employment, supports economic growth and closes equality gaps.
Recent research by Go ON UK shows that while the majority of adults in West Lancashire have all five basic digital skills, 23% do not, and 15.5% of adults in West Lancashire have never been online.