April 6, 2016 : David McNeill

Meet David!

An introduction to Team Digital's new Director and our exciting programme of activity

I was delighted to join SCVO as Digital Director on 21st March, taking over the reins from Chris Yiu. A bit about me? I have come from Young Scot, who are doing great work in using digital to engage young people, and am also currently a Trustee of the Voluntary Action Fund and Recharge, a youth work project in East Lothian. I’ve been lucky to grow up as a digital native, from my first experiences with computers with an Apple Mac Plus (which had a 20MB hard disk the size of a phone book!) to my love of all things tech today. However, I know not everyone is confident in using new technology, and I am excited to be part the team at SCVO doing great work to support both individuals and organisations around digital skills.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since starting at SCVO, with a short intermission to overindulge in chocolate over Easter, and I’ve been finding out more about the wide range of work the fantastic Digital team are doing together with our partners. I thought it would be worth sharing with you a brief overview of what we’re up to right now around Scotland…

Level 1 – Basic digital skills

 Did you know that one-in-five people in Scotland do not have basic digital skills? We’re not talking about the ability to build a website or code an app, we’re talking about five basic skills identified by Go ON UK as being crucial to engaging online confidently:

  • Managing information (e.g. using a search engine, creating a bookmark)
  • Communicating (e.g. using email, social media)
  • Transacting (e.g. online banking)
  • Problem solving (e.g. using YouTube to teach yourself simple tasks)
  • Creating (e.g. share a photo album over social media)

 Many of us take these skills for granted, but imagine how much more time consuming everyday tasks would be without them? Not to mention the expectation many employers now have around levels of basic digital literacy.

We know those who are lacking basic digital skills are more likely to be older, poorer and living in social housing. We also know it’s those who have an existing supportive relationship with individuals who are best placed to help them develop these skills. That’s why third sector organisations have a key role to play in this work.

Working with the Scottish Government, we’re aiming to equip more people with basic digital skills by:

  • Funding 84 local projects in communities across Scotland through the Challenge Fund; and
  • Encouraging organisations to sign-up to the Digital Participation Charter, making a commitment to their staff and volunteers to learn and share basic digital skills.

As part of the Big Lottery funded One Digital programme, we’re also providing training directly to third sector organisations to help them develop basic digital skills and pass these on to people they work with. This training is taking place across all 32 local authority areas.

Level 2 – Supporting digital transformation in the third sector

‘Digital transformation’ is a bit of a buzzword at the moment. However, new technology and digital tools offer huge opportunities for third sector organisations to enhance their impact and/or improve efficiency. This needn’t be about developing apps, using big data or exploring the potential of the latest wearable devices. While these things may be appropriate for some organisations, for many simply making use of widely available low-cost tools to improve data collection, streamline management processes and enhance communication have the potential to make things quicker, easier and ultimately contribute towards greater impact.

As a first step in supporting digital transformation in the third sector, through the One Digital Programme we’ve invited senior leaders from across the sector to join Action Learning sets to explore embedding digital as part of their strategy and find solutions for the challenges they face.

Level 3 – SCVO’s digital services

The Digital team look after the suite of online services provided by SCVO which are widely used by the sector, including Goodmoves, Funding Scotland and the main SCVO website. A key task for the next few months will be the development of our main website, aiming to consolidate some of the existing web estate and make it quicker and easier for people to get the information they need.

Last year we also established SCVO Labs, a space for us to prototype and develop new digital services for the sector. The first service to come out of Labs is GoodHQ, a platform which will provide new opportunities for the public to engage with the third sector, finding out more about organisations and how to get involved, as well as sharing their experiences. An early beta version is online now and expect to hear lots more about this exciting new development over the next few months.

For those interested in the more technical side of web development, we’re going to be using the SCVO Labs blog to talk about the tools and techniques we’re using, the challenges we’ve encountered and how we’ve overcome them.

Get involved

We can only achieve our ambitions for increasing the number of people with basic digital skills and supporting the digital transformation in the third sector by working in partnership. Please do get in touch if you would like to chat about what we can achieve together.

Web: digital.scvo.org.uk

Email: david.mcneill@scvo.org.uk

Twitter: @david_mcneill

Phone: 07825 372 049

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by David McNeill