“Councils with a Digital Champion are 4x more likely to smooth the rollout of mobile infrastructure.”
The Case for Local Authority Digital Champions > What is a Digital Champion?
Five minimum requirements of a Digital Champion
- A Fully Funded Role
The role of the Digital Champion must be a fully funded role with the resources and skills to deliver a comprehensive programme which enables the rollout of digital connectivity across the local area.
Mobile UK calls on the UK Government to provide funding and investment to ensure that Digital Champions are a key element in achieving the mission within the Levelling Up White Paper to extend 4G and 5G coverage to the majority of the population.
- Senior-Level Role and Responsibility
A Digital Champion must be a senior-level role which can coordinate across multiple departments and have decision-making powers that will be crucial to generating outcomes.
- Political Responsibility and Leadership
The Digital Champion should be supported politically by a senior (preferably Cabinet-Level or equivalent) councillor responsible for digital strategy, policy, and the Digital Champion role.
Best practice suggests that where the political lead has the digital (or equivalent) role within their title, they are more likely to achieve positive outcomes and act as a champion for digital connectivity and wider industry coordination.
- Experience and Skills
A Digital Champion is a complex role requiring skills across several disciplines. Additionally, the position must be able to engage, and work, with the telecoms industry. It is important for the role’s success that any appointed member has a high level of skill and understanding of the sector and pertinent issues.
- Outcome, not Output Focused
A proactive approach to working with fixed and mobile network operators to simplify processes and agreements is needed. A Digital Champion’s duties should include addressing barriers to the rollout; mapping and making assets available to operators to support the rollout; identifying opportunities for public use of digital connectivity; and changing the culture of the organisation to recognise the importance of digital connection to the local area.