Pledging in support of Digital Participation

At the GovCamp Scotland event (November 2011), Sopra was one of the founding signatories of the cross-sector Digital Participation Charter, which highlighted our commitment to contributing to the development and implementation of policy via the Digital Participation Action Group (DPAG). DPAG was split into four working sub-groups, including the Older People workstream, which is led by Sopra and includes representatives from: NHS 24, Fife Council, Patient Opinion, ScotlandIS, Citizens Advice, Edinburgh University, Virgin Media and Mydex.

Digital Participation Event – 2nd October 2012, Glenrothes, Fife

In order to kickstart the DPAG Older People workstream, Sopra, Fife Council and the Scottish Government, organised a Digital Participation Event that focused on increasing digital participation in Fife among the +55 age group. Public and third sector organisations showcased their work in support of digital participation to private sector organisations, which then pledged support for these initiatives by way of either time (consultancy) or equipment (ie tablets etc.). Sopra Group made four pledges – two for consultancy and two for equipment.

Fufilling Pledges

On 18 of December, representatives from Age Concern Glenrothes and Fife Employment Access Trust were presented with tablets by Alison McLaughlin, Sopra's Head of Public Sector, in our Edinburgh offices. Sopra colleagues then joined us for an informal lunch to hear more about these organisations and how our pledges will help them in practice; how technology can genuinely be an enabler.

Fife Employment Access Trust

Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) works with individuals with mental health problems to help them take up work and with employers across Fife to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace. In 2007, FEAT was awarded Big Lottery funding to develop a 5-year programme "Journey to Work".

In 2010 FEAT developed a software solution enabling people to download information on a range of social services to a mobile device via a touchscreen using Bluetooth technology (information can also be printed out if required).  Prior to this FEAT had to take printed material (hundreds of leaflets etc.) with them when attending events or visiting community centres. The solution has removed the need to carry hardcopies and helped increase the uptake of information of a sensitive nature such as leaflets about depression, because this information can now be downloaded to a personal mobile device and viewed in private. In addition, a key feature of the solution is that it collects demographic information on the people who are looking for assistance with particular topics, which then allows services to be targeted at those who need them most.

The solution has been extremely successful and other organisations within Health and Local Authority have expressed an interest in using it, but the lack of portability has been an obstacle to further development: it was designed as a desktop solution so it requires a PC and screen to be taken on site visits. The tablet donated by Sopra is the first step towards transitioning the solution to a new mobile service platform and an example of how technology can be a strong enabler; it also ties in closely with the strategic move towards health and local authority organisations working more closely together.

"We have been keen to develop our technologies but face the constant problem of financing such developments and so the pledge from Sopra really does make a great difference to us. We are working more and more now with clients with complex, severe and enduring mental health conditions with regular and often long stays in hospital. The ability to bring "the outside world" to them can aid in their recovery and this will be our initial focus with the tablet. Having spoken with many staff at Sopra about our work, I am also encouraged by the genuine interest shown from people across all sections of the company and hope our relationship will continue for the foreseeable future." Duncan Mitchell, General Manager, FEAT

FEAT will trial the new mobile solution via community nurses who will use it when visiting clients within their homes. The tablet will contain all the contact details/information on various community support organisations (around 250).
Visit the Fife Employment Access Trust website

Age Concern Glenrothes

Age Concern Glenrothes is a local charity based in Fife that provides day services for people aged 65; the charity also plans to visit older people in their homes who have little or no social contact with their upcoming Buddy service (New Horizons).  This is where the tablet donated by Sopra will be of huge benefit to their clients and their volunteer Buddy.

Age Concern Glenrothes operates eleven sessions per week delivering Active Ageing and Dementia services in addition to piloting Reablement care and the aim is to provide a safe, warm and welcoming environment in each of their four centres.  The charity is also in the process of introducing new activities including computer classes, interactive demonstrations and Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinnect challenges.

"Age Concern Glenrothes wishes to thank Sopra for the generous donation of the tablet that was presented to Sandie Gibson (New Horizons project).  This technology will be of great help to us and provide real benefits to our clients.  We will make sure to keep you informed of our progress. Thank you again for your support with our project." Sandie Gibson, Age Concern Glenrothes

One of the key ways in which the charity promotes social inclusion is by ensuring that older people are not left behind because of a lack of confidence or knowledge around digital technology. The tablet donated by Sopra will be used as a mobile solution enabling volunteers to show older people within their homes how to use online technology in lots of practical ways e.g. how to use social media or Skype to keep in contact with distant family, pay bills and shop online etc. or how to use laptops and PCs that they may already have but are unsure of how to use.

Visti the Age Concern Glenrothes website

Follow-up Pledges (Consultancy)

At the Digital Participation event Sopra also offered some consultancy time to Disabled Persons' Housing Service and Fife Elderly Forum and is currently in the process of fulfilling these pledges.