Digital Strategy Context
What is a digital strategy?
A digital strategy is a plan that sets out what the Council wants to achieve, and outlines strategic goals and objectives to make the most of digital opportunities for Fingal. It is a living document that will change overtime and adapt with an ever evolving digital society. The Strategy will set out an overall vision for the County outlining a number of core objectives that will include a clear path for implementation.
Why are we creating a digital strategy?
Fingal is made up of a mix of rural, urban and suburban regions. The importance of access to high speed broadband services in both urban and rural Ireland has been well documented in recent years. The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is a government initiative to deliver high speed broadband services to all businesses and households in Ireland. Fingal County Council is committed to facilitating the rollout of the NBP and recognises the vital role broadband will play in Fingal’s urban and rural economic and social development. In line with the NBP deliverables Fingal County Council is developing a digital strategy to maximise the opportunities of digital transformation for the benefit of our society and economy, ensuring that Fingal is an even better place for people to live, work, visit and do business in.
Fingal has a population of 296,214 (Census 2016) making it the third most populous local authority area in the country. The county also has the youngest population in the country and is one of the most diverse regions with the second largest numbers of non-Irish national residents. In order to create an inclusive digital strategy for all who live, work and visit Fingal we are engaging with community, industry and government stakeholders for feedback and collaboration.
As digital infrastructure in Ireland continues to grow, it empowers communities and citizens through the provision of and access to information, resources, and services offered by local authorities (data, grants, forms, etc.), state agencies (taxes, passports, etc.) and the charitable/non-for-profit sector (data, research, etc.).
According to the European Commission, Ireland currently has one of the lowest levels of basic digital skills in the EU. With 9 out of 10 jobs requiring digital skills in the future it is crucial that local government plays its part by encouraging and facilitating citizens to upskill and grow their careers. Over the next two years it is expected that over 12,000 jobs are to go unfilled in the Irish ICT sector. By focusing our efforts we hope to reduce the skills gap and encourage more young people into this sector.
The digital retail market also presents many challenges and opportunities for Irish businesses, According to a recent PayPal study, Irish shoppers are amongst the biggest international online consumers in the world, with €2.7 billion being spent on foreign-owned websites last year alone. As part of the National Digital Strategy the Trading Online Voucher Scheme was developed, the Scheme offers small businesses the opportunity to develop their website or digital marketing strategy by availing of vouchers of up to €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure. Local Enterprise Offices administer these schemes and provide a number of supports for SME’s to upskill and grow their businesses online. Fingal Local Enterprise Office aims to build on these supports, encouraging and facilitating SMEs to develop their digital presence and trade online.