Digital champions have started to return to Dorset libraries to help people who are struggling to get online. Meanwhile the Digital Hotline will keep running to help people who can’t get to the face-to-face sessions.
Part of Dorset's digital vision is to enable it to be a digital place where residents learn new digital skills which will make their lives easier, and businesses have access to people with the digital skills they need.
Digital champions ran sessions in Dorset’s libraries and community venues until the start of last year, covering enquiries ranging from how to switch on a computer and use it for the first time through to specific technical queries.
When the Covid pandemic struck these sessions had to stop and since then Digital Champions have been helping people with their digital queries through the telephone hotline.
"In face-to-face support sessions the digital champion can see the exact issue and suggest a range of actions. If the first doesn’t work, we can immediately try something else," explained Mike Watson, one of the volunteer digital champions. "An informal relationship develops between the Digital Champion and the user, and as the user starts to make progress dealing with the technology, genuine learning happens."
The sessions will be spaced apart to allow full cleaning and other Covid secure requirements will be in place. Perspex screens will separate the user and the digital champion or two computer screens will be available to maintain distance between them.
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James is the Editor of Government Transformation magazine, and has been covering digital government and public sector reform for 20 years. He also oversees the development of the agenda for the UK's biggest public sector transformation conference.