… everybody who wishes to access the internet should be able to and … it is the role of government to ensure that everybody in our society has the opportunity to develop digital skills. A world class Digital Scotland will be one in which internet access is considered as a utility on a par with access to electricity and gas, and where digital literacy takes it place alongside conventional literacy and numeracy at the heart of our education system. Access to the internet should not be considered a luxury in a modern country.
So says the Scottish Government in a report published back in April (Digital Participation: A National Framework for Local Action). ‘Everybody in our society’ presumably includes people at work? Yet local authority ICT managers continue to deny access to web-based services, often for obscure reasons. Consider this example.
Recently SSSC set up a Yammer network to enable people working in social care to exchange knowledge and experience on self directed support. In a sector that is often hesitant in its embrace of social media this network turned out to be hugely popular. Sadly, one local authority member had to make this rather forlorn, farewell post:
Well I knew that this was really too good to be true. Our ICT colleagues have become aware that Yammer was being used and have instructed that accounts be closed as it is not a secure site and use of it breaches council policy.
So probably my last post for the moment at least, shame really found this useful in making links and sharing resource.
Making links and sharing resources: exactly what the modern workplace is supposed to be all about. Yammer, incidentally, is used by some 400,000 companies worldwide, including 85 percent of the Fortune 500. Is it really not secure enough for a local authority?
This ‘command and control’ approach is rather at odds with promoting digital participation. If local authorities do not encourage and nurture their own staff in digital participation, the communities they serve may leave them behind as they acquire the skill and confidence to build networks using the tools of their choice.
An article in the Guardian Social Care Network this week asks what’s holding back the use of social media in social care. While there are legitimate concerns, professional people are well able to decide how and when to use social networks. The article talks about about using Twitter to make connections and Yammer (yes Yammer) to pave the way for more collaboration.
One of the biggest benefits is being able to network without spending lots of money on conferences. Communicating online, say Helen Reynolds (responsible for opening up access to social media in Monmouthshire County Council), allows you to “understand what’s going on in the industry by having that bigger network of people you can call on”.
If you are one of the digitally excluded why not have your say on Scotland’s Digital Dialogue?