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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Fife Council launch workforce digital skills support network

Fife Council is the largest employer in Fife and the third largest council in Scotland. It is a mammoth task to support almost 18,000 staff with their digital skills to ensure a digitally confident workforce. To help meet the challenge their Digital Skills and Learning (DS&L) team have recently launched a network to embed digital skills support for all employees across the council.

Circle graphic. Inner circle says 'Fife Council Employees' and has two-way arrows to the outer circle. The outer circle has two-way arrows around it, cinnecting the text 'Digital Skills and Learning Team', 'Digital Leaders', 'Digital Champions'

The network of Digital Champions (DCs), supported by Digital Leaders (DLs), will encourage small sustainable digital nudges to support everyone’s digital skills. The DS&L team have developed a brilliant online hub and training site for all staff. There are bespoke ‘how to’ guides for different internal systems and e-learning sessions, to encourage staff into self-guided learning to support themselves. DCs can signpost staff to these if their query requires some in-depth training rather than a quick helpful nudge in the right direction.

A trohpy cup graphic with a title 'Digital Champions' and a graduation cap graphic with the title 'Training'

The hub has various sections to explain the DC program, to encourage more staff to volunteer and to encourage the wider workforce to use their DC. Every DC has written a personal bio about the main systems and digital tools they use in their everyday work, and so feel confident enough to help others with.

Fife Council DC hub. Title says Digital Connections Digital Confidence. Beneath is five sections with photos of supporting-looking people and a champions trophy. The section titles are 'What is the Digital Champions programme?', 'Become a Digital Champion', 'Find a Digital Champion', 'What can a Digital Champion do for you?', 'Digital Leaders'

There is also an excellent checklist about what the scope of a Digital Champion is. Staff can identify when they need DC support (e.g. general assistance to use digital tools) and when they need IT support instead (e.g. technical problems with hardware or software).

Digital Leaders from 13 different service areas across the council have already volunteered. A big motivator is the efficiency savings on staff time hopefully eliminating utterances like “I’ve been wrestling with this for several hours and finally given up and admitted defeat” or supervisors downloading payslips for every member of their team each month.

Each Digital Leader will support Digital Champions (DCs) who will deliver peer support within their service area. 74 DCs have already had their induction training. I was delighted to be invited to their June networking event to see how things are going.

Fife Council Digital Champion networking event, June 2023. Photo is of about 30 Digital Champions standing in an open plan office area smiling
Digital Champions Networking event – June 2023

There was a real buzz in the room. One DC’s eyes shone talking about how rewarding it has been already simply just by sharing features regularly used in Microsoft Word. Another DC told me of concerns about what questions might come up and two other DCs, who have more experience of staff support, immediately said to just ask for help any time. Two DCs told me about how they’ve signed up together, so they can support each other.

What came through in abundance was how much mutual support is embedded, encouraging DCs to support each other as well as the wider workforce. A Teams channel helps the DCs & DLs from different services to share best practice and new ideas across the network. The DS&L team will use these to continue developing the online hub and adding new resources to the training site.

It will be exciting to see the impact this network has on the council. The whole setup is very engaging and friendly. It will encourage peer support, trusting and relying on colleagues and new opportunities of networking across services. It will create a more digitally confident workforce as well as cost savings in terms of staff efficiency and reduction of stress. Many of the Digital Champions had never met so many colleagues outside of their own service before, so the network could also encourage partnership and co-production work across services as they start to share skills and knowledge with each other, breaking down some existing silos.

With an estimated 59% of adults of working age stating that they don’t have all the digital skills they need to be able to do their jobs, the need for this sort of support has never been clearer. Working out the digital skills strengths and gaps in your own workforce is easy with our workforce digital skills audit. If you would like support with it or to be able to develop a similar support network for your own workforce, please do contact us at for our bespoke digital inclusion support service. Suggested additional reading on this topic is our report on Supporting workforce digital skills in local government.

Last modified on 27 June 2023