A simple guide to auditing digital skills

This guide explains why a skills audit is important for your organisation and provides guidance on how to identify where the skills gaps are and what support you might need. The resource includes an audit template which you can use to conduct your own analysis of your team’s existing digital skills.

This resource is available in English and Welsh
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Image courtesy of Visit England © Sophie Morgan

A simple guide to auditing digital skills

1. Introduction

A 2020 report by the Skills Platform (PDF file, 1.54MB) found that digital skills in the charity sector were an important area for investment amongst a wide range of organisations. Almost 70% of the 429 organisations surveyed reported that skills to support ‘widening the reach’ was a key priority. However, 48% of those surveyed described the lack of core digital skills and competency as the biggest internal barrier in getting the most from digital. To remove this barrier, it is clear that your first step should be to establish the skills gap in your organisation.

In this resource, our expert, Dr Stephen Dobson, University of Leeds, provides a simple guide to enable you to carry out a digital skills audit and explains why you might need one.

The definition of what ‘core’ digital skills are will differ from one organisation to another, but the following represent the most common areas:

  • Computer literacy
  • Data entry
  • Social media
  • Web-based communications and searching
  • Word processing
  • Email and chat
  • Basic online security.

Depending upon the nature of your heritage organisation, as well as staff roles, perhaps more advanced skills may be included in your definition of ‘core’ skills. These might involve:

  • Programming, website development or app development
  • Analysing and visualising data
  • Digital marketing and content creation
  • Organisation-specific software and technology
  • Business planning and accounting systems.

It is worthwhile auditing your staff’s level of knowledge and competencies in these core skill areas on a regular basis. This is especially important if you plan to increase the level of digital engagement required by your staff. A digital skills audit helps you to identify any particular gaps in knowledge and therefore identifies any weakness in your digital strategy or plans for new product or service delivery. By auditing the digital skills of your staff and volunteers you can then better plan for training, support and recruitment.

2. A core digital skills audit template

This template provides a simple questionnaire that you can use to conduct a digital skills audit. Download the Core Digital Skills Audit Template (Word document, 205kb).

For each of the questions in the template, write down if you complete each action at work either daily, occasionally, regularly or never. Then repeat this for how much you complete the actions outside of work. Lastly, for each question, please also provide a general score of your comfort level in performing the action.

3. Following up

Conducting a skills audit is a valuable step in identifying and addressing your organisation’s digital potential. You may find it helpful to complete a similar audit at regular intervals. Doing so means you can continually assess which areas need additional focus as you begin to implement your digital strategy.

4. Further resources

The Digital Maturity Matrix from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) focuses on how established (or mature) digital skills and practice are in your organisation.

Digital Checkup by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) helps leaders establish the overall digital health of your organisation and helps you consider priority areas for skills development.

This personal audit of digital skills for heritage may also be a useful starting point if you need a more detailed analysis of individual digital skills requirements. Download the personal audit of digital skills for heritage (Excel spreadsheet 19.7kb).

More help here

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How to improve the digital skills of your volunteers

The move towards digital has opened up many great opportunities for small to medium-sized heritage organisations to make a big impact, but also presents some challenges. Many heritage organisations rely on volunteers to operate and the digital skills of a volunteer team may be limited. This resource by Dig Yourself provides guidance on how to identify the digital training needs of your volunteers and how get started with digital upskilling with limited resources.

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Identifying and prioritising your digital training requirements

After conducting a digital skills audit, the next step is to identify what training your team needs. This resource guides you through the process and provides a scoring system to help prioritise the most valuable skills.


Browse related resources by smart tags:

Skills Skills gap Staff Training Volunteers
Published: 2022
Resource type: Articles

Creative Commons Licence Except where noted and excluding company and organisation logos this work is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) Licence

Please attribute as: "A simple guide to auditing digital skills (2022) by Dr Stephen Dobson supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0


More help here

Digital Heritage Hub is managed by Arts Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with The Heritage Digital Consortium and The University of Leeds. It has received Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and National Lottery funding, distributed by The Heritage Fund as part of their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. Digital Heritage Hub is free and answers small to medium sized heritage organisations most pressing and frequently asked digital questions.

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