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What we’re doing on: capability

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It’s the objective setting season. We’ve spent the last couple of months defining and agreeing what we will deliver in the next year, and how we will do it. I’m sure you have too.

This year, we were setting objectives at the same time as planning for the outcome of a general election, which made the process slightly trickier.

But our election planning work influenced the style, as well as the content, of our team objectives.  We ended up developing a manifesto for the things we intend to deliver over the next year.

I’ll describe some of what we’ve promised to do over the course of the next few blogs, starting with what we’re committed to doing to drive up digital capability within the Department of Health.

Slide showing the 3 committments on digital cap[ability

We’ve done a lot work to drive up digital capability in the department over the last year. Some of it has felt successful, and we’ve blogged before about the evidence we’ve gathered about increasing digital confidence.

But we’ve also questioned the value of ongoing capability work, sometimes wondering whether or not the best way to become a more digitally confident organisation might just be to wait.

We're determined to focus our effort on the things that are most necessary, and most likely to be successful. So this year, to drive up the digital capability of staff in the Department of Health, we will:

1. Mainstream the basics: We will ensure that every member of DH staff has at least a basic level of digital skills by the end of the year

We know from our annual skills survey that 20% of our staff still don’t have confidence in their own basic digital skills. That’s not good enough.  So we’ve committed ourselves to fixing it this year.

Our digital passport, and some of the work we’re delivering through our network digital of champions will help us to meet this objective.

2. Support innovation: We will provide new opportunities for DH staff to lead innovative digital work by removing current barriers, and supporting those with ideas

We need to help people with the basics, but we want to help people who are ready to innovate too.

Increasingly, our champions are telling us that they don’t actually need our help to acquire basic digital skills, and they don’t need persuading that the internet matters any more.

They want to act on their ideas, and they’d rather we help them with that.  So we're going to focus some of our effort on helping those who are committed to leading innovative digital work, but are not quite sure how to do it.

To do this, we’ll be providing a bit of inspiration, through our programme of thought leader seminars. And we’ll be providing practical help, through bespoke intensive support to teams and individuals with good ideas.

3. Enable self service: We will provide tools and products that enable DH staff to support their own development

We don’t have capacity to support every member of staff’s personal development even if we wanted to.

Sometimes it is necessary to provide practical advice and support personally, in classrooms and offices.  But this kind of personal service doesn’t scale easily, and nor does it always fit with the ways people prefer to learn.

So this year, we’ll be putting effort into developing self-service tools, that people can use whenever it's convenient for them, without having to ask for help.

Our champions forums, digital passport tool, and improved PolicyKit will help us deliver this objective.

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