The council scooped both awards in London on Thursday night. A panel of 16 judges decided that nominations from the local authorities in Salford and Birmingham were so strong, they awarded both cities the title of Digital Council of the Year.
Salford won both awards for its bold ambitions and innovations in the way it is digitally transforming services to the public.
A digital revolution was launched in Salford in January this year with the start of the landmark project Digital You, which aims to help 8,000 of the most digitally excluded residents – from older residents to homeless people – to get online by 2020.
The council has teamed up with Good Things Foundation, the UK’s leading digital and social inclusion charity, and private sector partners including Barclays, Lloyds Bank and TalkTalk to achieve this. The work is underpinned by a growing army of digital champions, and the council has its own Digital Eagles to develop new skills within its workforce.
This digital drive includes building up a network of community venues in the city that will support residents with face-to-face, informal support to boost local technology skills. So far around 30 organisations have signed up to provide help with more being added to the list each week.
Most recently the council showed its commitment to becoming a Digital City in the appointment of a Chief Digital Officer, Jon Corner, to drive the changes needed to make Salford one of the world’s most attractive cities for digital enterprise.
This award acknowledges the council’s wide range of digital developments including: the way it is transforming how its services are delivered to the public; creating a new community portal to connect communities; and, as part of the Digital Skills Partnership, the development of a Local Digital Skills Partnership delivery group.
These public, private and charity sector organisations have been brought together by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to boost skills for a world-leading, inclusive economy. Salford is contributing to this important piece of work including the local digital skills playbook which will be a guide to doing digital inclusion locally.
Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said:
“I am very proud that Salford has been recognised with such prestigious awards. It recognises how we are using digital technology to transform the city.
“Digital Salford is a key part of creating a better, fairer Salford, helping to tackle inequality and make a real difference to local people’s lives. We are improving digital literacy which in turn tackles issues such as social isolation helps improve health and wellbeing and enables people access to leaning and job opportunities.
“Digital is fundamental to the future so that people can connect to new opportunities with almost 90% of new jobs requiring digital skills.
“But all this would not be possible without our hard-working council employees as well as local residents and partners agencies who are focusing on innovative approaches. With organisations such as Lloyds Bank, Barclays Bank, TalkTalk and Google making pledges we’re creating a real social movement for change in the city. Both awards are only thanks to everyone working together and they all deserve this national recognition.”
Debbie Brown, Director of Service Reform also commented:
“We are absolutely delighted to be named both Overall DL100 winner and Digital Council of the Year. It is testimony to the City Mayor's ambition for Salford and the ambitious vision and cross sector approach.
"It’s great to see the acknowledgment from the judges that our submission was not about the technology, but about how it benefits people. Society is changing quickly and Salford will be at the forefront on change and innovation to the benefit of all our residents."