Issue 1: December 2011

BRINGING ALIVE THE DIGITAL PARTICIPATION CHARTER FOR SCOTLAND'S CITIZENS, COMMUNITIES AND BUSINESSES

By Melvyn Ingleson, Chief Executive, MJI

Beyond GovCamp Scotland… Making the Digital Participation Charter come alive for Scotland’s citizens, communities and businesses

GovCamp Scotland, held at the University of Edinburgh’s splendid JMCC Conference Centre, was first convened in November 2011. We promised then that the event would not be an end in itself and we are delighted to say that we have kept that promise.

Feedback on the event itself is very encouraging with over 88% of those surveyed saying that they definitely intended to be actively involved after the event in improving digital participation in Scotland

There are now 28 founding signatories to the Digital Participation Charter, covering a spectrum of private, public and third sector organisations. The signatories are considering how best to work together to fulfil the purpose of the Charter over the lifetime of the Scottish Parliament.

We are not an exclusive club and other organisations and individuals who share our passion to drive up digital participation rates may wish and are welcome to join us as partners.

We are not an exclusive club and other organisations and individuals who share our passion to drive up digital participation rates may wish and are welcome to join us as partners.

Let’s first remind ourselves of the commitments made.

Firstly, the purpose of the Charter.

This charter commits the signatories to bringing together their collective skills and resources over the lifetime of this Parliament to increase digital participation levels in Scotland and delivering the associated economic, social and environmental benefits. Success will be measured by the contribution that the signatories to this Charter make to delivering Scotland’s Digital Ambition.

Secondly, the specific early commitments made by the Action Group to deliver detailed proposals by April 2012 to the Cabinet Sub Committee on Scotland’s Digital Future.

COMMITMENTS

The signatories are committed to publishing a supplement to the Charter by April 2012 which includes:

1 Details of a Digital Participation brokerage that will maximise the impact of collaboration and available resources from Government, public agencies, the private sector and third sector.

2 An Action Plan detailing the key actions to be taken by the Digital Participation Action Group and relationship to the Digital Participation Programme Board to meet the stated purpose of the Charter.

3 A baseline position of current Scottish digital participation commitments and funding streams across all sectors including UK government schemes and a high level assessment of the extent to which current activity will support the delivery of the stated purpose of the Charter.

4 A plan to obtain and publish open data sets in order to encourage re-use of public sector information and to enable the development of new applications.

5 A commitment to explore opportunities to use Community Benefit clauses to improve digital participation and to undertake collaboration where appropriate.

We also have to take into account the other aspects of Scottish Government policy which have a direct bearing on the work of the Digital Participation Action Group. The Group welcomes the appointment of the Minister for Youth Employment, and looks forward to working with the Minister in improving digital participation rates amongst disadvantaged young people: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2011/12/07083420

We welcome also the major long term infrastructure investments programme announced by Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, and the commitment to improving access to technology which is as vital to economic growth across Scotland as physical investments in upgraded trunk roads and high speed rail.

The Action Group is meeting on December 8th in Edinburgh, and it looks like a very full attendance.

On the agenda are a number of suggested activities where individual members of the Action Group are seeking greater collaboration with a wider cohort. We will share those individual action plans once they have been discussed with those who wish to be involved. However also on the Agenda are updates from the sub-groups emerging that are focusing on each of the five commitments. There is also a proposal to establish an appropriately resourced externally focused Programme Office. Urgent consideration is being given to maintaining the existing microsite whilst identifying the resource required for designing and developing a more collaborative site for the longer term. A site that will act as a hub not only for the Action Group members to share great ideas and requests for support, but will also be one that will help track improved participation across Scotland’s communities and businesses.

Please contact me if you would like to get involved in delivering increased digital participation rates across Scotland. melvyn@mjibusinesssolutions.com

        

By Melvyn Ingleson, Chief Executive, MJI

Issue 1: December 2011

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