Front line digital knowledge ‘inadequate’

A report, jointly produced by the Public Sector People Manager’s Association (PPMA) and IT services provider Eduserv, has found that four in ten HR leaders rate digital knowledge of front line staff as ‘inadequate’.

Skills for digital change outlined how the digital literacy of senior managers is widely improving, with HR leaders reporting improvements among the corporate management team (78 per cent), finance (68 per cent), HR (67 per cent) and IT teams (81 per cent) across local authorities.

Furthermore, 61 per cent of PPMA members surveyed reported that digital skills had improved in the last year, with 66 per cent showing a desire to further develop a plan to improve digital skills in their organisation.

However, while digital literacy of senior staff was rising, the report showcases that a lack of digital literacy at other employee levels was holding back digital change programmes, especially among front-line staff, with 85 per cent of HR leaders highlighting front line staff as being left behind in the digital journey.

Eduserv’s Jos Creese, author of the report, said: “This research shows that although councils are taking significant steps to improve digital skills across their organisations, those responsible for delivering services on the front line are getting left behind on the digital journey in terms of understanding and adoption.

“Digital is about people more than technology so it is vital that councils put their HR teams at the heart of planning, working with IT and digital teams to ensure the right skills and knowledge are in place to ensure digital change projects succeed.”

Sue Evans, president of the PPMA, added: “While it is important that HR teams take steps to build digital capability for employees, digital practice in leading councils shows the value of changing expectations of all employees to become digitally competent and to become digitally self-sufficient. It is clear that senior leaders in councils need to work closely with HR teams to create a digitally aware culture which will support and sustain their future efforts to deliver a new generation of public services.”