SCULPT at Worcestershire County Council
Our sculpt workforce model explained
At Worcestershire County Council we firmly believe that inclusive digital practice is the responsibility of everyone, not just the web team.
Beyond our specialists in the web and digital innovation team, we wanted the whole workforce to be able to understand and apply the basics of digital accessibility.
This includes all content created beyond the website too, such as shared documents, emails, presentations or support collaboration with colleagues in an accessible way.
Our learning and support framework is there to ensure everyone across the workforce, as a minimum, can apply the six SCULPT basic principles when creating any documents or content.
The SCULPT framework at Worcestershire County Council
Our framework is made up of:
- Mandatory e-learning module for all new starters and existing staff to underpin basic awareness of digital accessibility and the SCULPT principles. It further signposts to our SCULPT support area on the intranet. To pass the module users need to achieve 70% or more on the end of unit assessment
- SCULPT support area on the intranet with resources specific to each principle of SCULPT such as the use of headings and styles, images and tables. Currently these are mainly focused around Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. These are regularly being added to based on feedback or as needs arise
- Bespoke learning sessions can be requested for service areas based on their specific needs, for some this is for more complex report writing, for others it’s to help design and use their newly developed accessible templates.
Currently our resources are very specific to the context and need of Worcestershire County Council, so we are working to make these more generic for all organisations to use and adopt.
We are continuously reviewing and developing our internal support for staff.
SCULPT workforce progress
At present, over 90% of our workforce have completed and passed the assessment on the SCULPT e-learning module.
We still are on our SCULPT implementation journey and we still have a lot to do and learn, but SCULPT is now recognised internally at Worcestershire County Council and progressing as a model of good basic practice.
Digital Accessibility Strategy
To firmly embed and support digital accessibility and SCULPT across the organisation we are currently writing our own workforce Digital Accessibility Strategy for Worcestershire County Council. This has been written with the support of our Digital Transformation Board and Web Governance Board.
The first draft of the strategy has been written and is being reviewed by key stakeholders within the organisation.
The strategy will support the first priority of 'Digital Workforce' in our new Digital Strategy and provide a digital steer for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy that is also currently being updated.
Lessons from our SCULPT journey
The most important thing to understand is that digital accessibility is not just web regulations, it’s the bigger picture of organisational culture
Just like when any system, software or legal updates come along your workforce needs to update their awareness and adapt their skills. For public bodies, digital accessibility on the web is a legal compliance that affects everyone across your workforce, not just your web team.
Just like with GDPR, you have your specialist team in data governance, and the rest of the workforce are trained in the basics to apply it to everyday practice. This ensures a whole organisational approach contributing to full legal compliance. The web regulations should be the same. Your specilaist team look after the regulations, your wider workforce should have a culture of basic understanding.
Digital accessibility web compliance, alongside adopting SCULPT as your wider workforce approach means everyone plays their part towards digital inclusion.
This is also about inclusive everyday digital practice
Inclusive digital practice should be considered the same as any inclusive practice, everyone should be able to apply this to their work and everyday life. In the same way inclusive behaviour isn’t just the responsibility of the HR team, digital inclusion should not just be the responsibility of just a web team.
The world has significantly shifted to digital by default over the last five years, therefore the basic awareness and skills needed to adapt and update for this digital culture shift are vital. Think about every document you share, every presentation you give, and every email you send, this is how far the need to be digitally inclusive is. The basics are simple, and these basics make a difference.
Applying the basic principles of SCULPT can have an enormous impact across the whole reach of everyday digital practice and this is our longer-term vision. Digital inclusion does not start and end with just websites.
Applying SCULPT doesn't make the perfect document, but applying these basics can mean the difference between someone being able to use your information or not.
At Worcestershire County Council we are still learning and we are still on our own implementation journey, but so far we have learned the following:
Digital accessibility touches everything!
- it is part of equality, diversity and inclusion and needs to be part of the strategy
- a whole workforce approach absolutely cannot just be driven by a small web team, it’s about many departments and key stakeholders working together to embed a new culture
- it needs to be weaved into a range of policies, strategies and implementation plans
- digital transformation and legal compliance means supporting your digital workforce up-skilling is your first priority
- underpinning knowledge, skills, and a SCULPT training and support model for all staff is vital
- digital inclusion is everyone’s responsibility (not just those who upload to the web)
- automated accessibility checkers in Microsoft don't always pick up accessibility issues fully, so relying on them solely isn't always helpful, therefore several levels of SCULPT training and awareness is vitally important to promote a better level of understanding
- there is a regular need for feedback, workshops, and to identify support gaps
- regular staff messaging and communication is key to ensure it is always high profile (remember for the web it is a legal compliance)
- the need for accountability and responsibility within service areas, procurement procedures, and guidance for your third party providers
- make it mandatory, make it culture, and follow it up