Challenge / Goal
PKC undertook research and consulted with other councils to understand approaches being taken to data literacy improvement, finding that while it is an emerging area of interest, there is little in the way of mature best practice examples. Therefore, development of the data literacy improvement plan has been an opportunity for innovation, adopting new approaches to awareness raising, learning and staff development.
In addition to this, data literacy assessment survey respondents commented that one of the barriers to understanding is that data and analytics related communications are often perceived to be overly technical and are difficult to understand for non-specialists. The 12 Days of Data campaign set out to address this, using non-technical language and Microsoft Teams based channels that staff were already comfortable with. The main learning point being that data and analytics is relevant to everyone and is not just for the specialist.
Data literacy improvement is important for any organisation seeking to make better use of data. Recognising this, Perth & Kinross Council’s (PKC) Data & Analytics programme incorporates high-level objectives to improve data literacy across the organisation.
The Council’s data literacy improvement plan sets out a blended approach to improvement, and started with an initial assessment of data literacy across council services, using an online questionnaire supplemented by workshops with various staff groups. This assessment was used to establish a baseline and inform approaches to improvement.
A key element of the improvement plan is communications and engagement, to ensure that staff are generally ‘data aware’. Recognising this, the festive period of 2021 provided an ideal opportunity to run a communications campaign which provided information about the data and analytics programme in a light-hearted, non-technical and innovative way under the banner ‘12 Days of Data’. The idea came from a campaign facilitated by the Scottish Local Government Digital Office the previous year.
The Perth Data project is being delivered as part of the 'Scotland's 8th City - the Smart City' ERDF programme. All cities involved are committed to 'community and citizen stakeholder engagement' as an additional programme output - with engagement required pre-, during, and post-project delivery. This Data Literacy assessment initiative is one example of wider engagement undertaken with project partners and stakeholders. Previous activity, as well as further planned engagement, is highlighted via a project stakeholder engagement strategy and action plan.
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