- Lloyds Banking Group has been announced to drive forward Government-led work to increase the digital capability of SMEs and charities across the UK and contribute to their target of reducing the number of people without basic digital skills by 25 per cent by 2016.
- Lloyds Banking Group
This is part of the work overseen by the Digital Inclusion Delivery Board of which Lloyds Banking Group is the only bank to sit on. The working group will work with Government, the digital skills charity Go ON UK and the six other partners to help businesses and charities make better use of information technology.
The first step for the working group will be to establish where the major gaps in support and provision for SMEs and charities are to help them increase their online skills. The group will also identify solutions by building on work and support carried out through Local Enterprise Partnerships and mentoring programmes and linking this to other stakeholders and Government departments.
The drive for improving digital skills follows the publication of the Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index, which showed that as many as 1.7 million organanisations in the UK have a very low level of digital capability and over a third of all SMEs and charities don’t have the basic online skills, as defined by the digital skills charity GO ON UK.
Perhaps more worrying was that the research showed only half of SMEs and charities had a website at all and of those that did, internet functionality was very basic with only one in five allowing payments or donations from their site. Attitudes were also a cause for concern with almost a third of organisations stating the internet wasn’t relevant to their business or charity showing that a lot of SMEs and charities have a ‘digital blind spot’.
The working group will also explore the way that SMEs and charities are currently exploiting digital channels to manage and grow their organisations as well as how and where they access the necessary skills to make an impact online.
Miguel-Ángel Rodríguez-Sola, Group Director for Digital, Marketing & Customer Development at Lloyds Banking Group said: “We’re proud to sit on the Digital Inclusion Delivery Board and chair this important piece of work for SMEs and charities. Through our partnership with Go ON UK, we understand the importance of digital and how valuable it can be for individuals, businesses and charities.
“We know that a big barrier is the perceived benefits of digital and that is one area the group will be focusing on. We can’t emphasis enough the benefits that the internet can bring for SMEs and charities – such as saving time, increasing revenue or reaching wider audiences. That’s why we are co-ordinating this work so that businesses and charities can reap the rewards from better digital skills.”
Eleri Pengelly, Deputy Director of Digital Inclusion, and joint Chair of the Digital Inclusion Delivery Board said: “We want to make Britain the most digitally able nation in the world to help boost the economy and strengthen communities. A key part of this is enabling more small businesses and charities to get online which is why his piece of work, chaired by Lloyds Banking Group, will be crucial in identifying the gaps and targeting our resources. Working with a wide range of partners such as Lloyds Banking Group is part of the Government’s commitment to tackle digital exclusion.”
Tristan Wilkinson, Acting CEO of Go ON UK said: “Creating vital resources such as digitalskills.com which is aimed at people and organisations who want to help others maximise the benefits of the web as well as working with our partners and teams across the country to improve Basic Online Skills is core to the Go ON UK strategy and we are delighted to support our Founder Partner Lloyds Banking Group through this piece of work for SMEs and charities.”
Lloyds Banking Group has undertaken a number of initiatives this year in partnership with Go ON UK to improve the digital skills of individuals, charities and businesses. This includes supporting the launches of Go ON North West, Go ON North East and Go ON Northern Ireland where the Halifax and Lloyds Bank committed to recruit over 2,500 digital champions.
Each digital champion pledges to provide practical advice and support for their own friends and family, customers, businesses or charities to help them understand the wider benefits of the internet. This includes help on how to browse the internet, use social media, save money by shopping online, email friends and family as well as the benefits of banking online.
For businesses and charities this includes practical tips on building, promoting and maintaining a website to carrying out transactions online through the help of digital toolkits.