Rethinking digital inclusion services: Virtual groups

A series of virtual groups are being established to support the Network with safely re-opening, developing and repurposing their services post Covid-19. Find out about the Digital Inclusion virtual groups here.

We are inviting you to participate in the Community of Interest and Service Development Groups on digital inclusion services. These groups will come together throughout November 2020 – January 2021 to explore common issues, concerns, and questions, and to share good practice with one another, as well as focus on the development and testing of digital inclusion service models.

In response to the interest shown by local Partners following our earlier communications, a series of virtual groups are being established to support the Network with safely re-opening, developing and repurposing their services post Covid-19. 

You may already have participated in some of these virtual events over the past couple of months, which covered four priority areas that reflected the more common services across the network. Since these groups were established, the Network has expressed an interest in establishing a group specifically focussed on rethinking digital inclusion services.  

Defining digital inclusion services  

Understanding how the Network defines digital inclusion services is going to be part of this repurposing and development work. The breadth and parameters of services, and how service models reflect them are part of service definition. We have started to think about what we mean by digital inclusion services and below we have set out our thoughts. This definition may evolve with Network discussion but may help you decide whether this virtual group is pertinent for you to join. 

Digital inclusion services – services that aim to motivate and inspire older people to get online, and/or support older people to engage in the digital world, for example through the provision of technology, or in-depth and bespoke one-to-one support to aid the development of their digital skills and confidence. Digital inclusion services may be delivered in older people’s homes, from community venues or remotely, and can be delivered in either group or 1:2:1 settings, depending on the needs of the individual 

Types of Virtual Group 

Two different types of virtual group are being created: 

  • Community of Interest (CoI) that any number of partners can be involved in 
  • Service Development Group (SDG) that will have a smaller membership 
Community of Interest 

In a CoI, partners come together and explore common issues, concerns, questions and share good practice with one another. It is expected the CoI will: 

  1. Inform the prioritisation and development of guidance and resources for the Network 
  1. Be linked to the Service Development Group and provide feedback on the Group’s ideas as a ‘critical friend’, as well as help test ideas 

The Digital Inclusion Community of Interest is open to any CEO and/ or service manager with an interest or expertise in digital inclusion services. It will be particularly helpful to those who are responsible for delivering the service and making decisions about how it will be re-introduced, developed or even launched for the first time – allowing the opportunity for both operational and strategic issues to be discussed. We encourage Chief Officers to circulate this invitation across your organisations and allow interested service managers to sign up. 

Service Development Group 

This smaller and fast paced group is open to Chief Officers and service managers with a particular interest, passion or expertise in digital inclusion, and will focus on the development and testing of service model(s) that could be applied by individual partners, clusters of partners or across the network as a whole. Each meeting will have a particular focus and it’s planned to cover: 

  • Service need 
  • Service models 
  • Quality and performance management, including service outcomes 
  • Workforce 
  • Financial/ Commercial modelling  
  • Supporting tools and resources 

More information is provided in the attached Terms of Reference.

Commitment Involved 

This virtual group and work will be time limited. It is planned to complete by the end of January 2021. Virtual meetings are planned to be fast paced and output focussed: 

  • Community of Interest groups will meet at least three times for 3 hours 
  • Service Development Groups will meet weekly for 2 hours for up to 10 weeks 

More information is provided in the planner.

If you would like to sign up to join either a Digital Inclusion CoI or SDG, please contact Sarah Parkes by Friday 23rd October 2020.  

Please note: In the instance that we are oversubscribed for these groups, we may hold a short briefing that we would ask all interested brand partners to attend. Details on this will follow in due course.  

Guidance on providing face-to-face I&A from your office during the Covid crisis

Age UK has produced some guidance on things to consider when reintroducing some element of face-to-face I&A delivery from a local Age UK office.

As the country begins to come out of lockdown, a number of Age UKs have looked at how they can reopen their offices and begin to provide something like their ‘normal’ service offering. Naturally, this has included consideration of once again providing I&A services from local Age UK offices.

Age UK has produced some guidance on things to consider when deciding how or if you can reintroduce some element of face-to-face I&A delivery from a local Age UK office:

The guidance has been produced in collaboration with a number of local Age UK offices and should be read in conjunction with Age UK’s general guidance on restarting services and the latest guidance from your local public health body (especially given the differing levels of local lockdowns that are becoming more common).

The guidance can also be found in the ‘COVID-19 Resources’ on the I&A pages of The Loop and on the ‘COVID-19 I&A Hub’ on WordPress.