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The government has warned that charities are lagging behind other sectors on digital technology and called for a digitally-focused approach to civil society.

‘Only 9% of charities say that everyone in the organisation understands and is on board with the digital vision.’ 

The government is looking to invest in skills in all areas. For the social sector and charities this could mean more schemes and grants to help them up to speed in digital;

‘2% of charities (around 3,500) struggle to access basic digital tools and 26% find it hard to attract or retain digital talent.’ 

Digital has been recognised as a key medium for reaching people of multiple age groups and demographics. The government has identified artificial intelligence and the data revolution as one of the four ‘Grand Challenges’ facing the UK.

Amongst other pledges the government has committed to:

  •  1.1 million investments to create a Digital Culture Network
  • Creation of a ‘Digital Maturity Index’ for the cultural sector.
  • £200,00 for small charities fundraising training.

Charities have been slower on the uptake of digital compared with other sectors, with key problems being attracting digital talents and skills.

“The biggest digital challenge the social sector faced, she said, was the need to increase confidence and skills particularly among trustees.” (Zoe Amar – digital consultant who has helped develop the strategy)

The social sector was amongst 5 target areas of social value that the government wants to help progress in the new Civil Society Strategy published on the 9th August 2018. The 5 target areas outlined in the strategy are:

  • People – Enabling a lifetime of contribution
  • Places – Empowerment and investment for local communities
  • The Social Sector – Supporting charities and social enterprises
  • The Public Sector – Ensuring collaborative commissioning

The strategy sets out how the government plans to support real work and actions being taken in civil society, so that they may be sustained for years to come, and recognising the value in contribution, social enterprise, charity and business working together to build a better country for everyone.

‘A healthy, independent and influential civil society is a hallmark of a thriving democracy. Charities and social enterprises – the social sector – are the core of civil society.’

To read more visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-society-strategy-building-a-future-that-works-for-everyone

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