Powys Cultural Services Digital Strategy

Reimagining cultural services in the digital space

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Objective

To deliver a digital strategy for Powys Cultural Services (PCS) that will enable them to develop a cross-cutting, online offer across their libraries, museums and archive. 

Part of Powys County Council, PCS is responsible for delivering cultural and heritage services to the residents of Powys. During the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, PCS had to quickly shift services online. The result of this was a significant uptake in e-book and audio book lending and attendance to online events. 

This led PCS to believe they could make a fundamental shift in delivery, with digital playing a significant role in their service transformation, as was happening across the heritage sector. Inspired by this, they sought funding to develop a digital strategy. 

The aim of this strategy is to develop a digitally mature set of online services that can be accessible both to the people of Powys and to global audiences. It is crucial that the strategy’s findings can be embedded within PCS, cut across their different services, and be both sustainable and self-funding. Not only will the strategy support community engagement, but it will also influence and support the way in which PCS operates internally.

Solution

To develop the strategy, we put in place four key research phases. These enabled us to pull together a comprehensive body of information about PCS, their users and the wider sector. The phases were:

  • A series of online workshops with key PCS stakeholders – we sought  to fully understand the background, current picture, and aspirations for digital services from across their library, museum and archive delivery teams
  • User surveys – helped us to understand service users’ digital skills, their online habits and interests
  • Staff skills survey – established levels of digital skills and attitudes to online services within the wider workforce
  • Sector research – surveyed current and innovative digital practices across the cultural and heritage sectors. This encompassed a look at wider digital trends to inform the long term objectives of the strategy

These different research phases provided us with a solid foundation from which we could develop the strategy. Central to the document were a series of activity strands that described how the strategy could be implemented.

Results

The PCS Digital Strategy is presented as a three stage roadmap, which provides the team with a clear plan from which to initiate, grow and embed digital during the next five years. Entitled ‘Embark’, the first stage will focus on planning and beginning key activities that are driven out of the delivery strands.

We believe that this wide-ranging strategy will enable PCS to remodel their digital offer. It will provide the blueprint from which the organisation can expand cross-cutting online services to engage users and match their ever-changing expectations. Using collaborative, innovative partnerships, both internally and with third parties, the Digital Strategy will enable PCS to drive forward positive digital change in the heritage sector. We’re excited to be helping them move into the implementation phase.

“Powis Castle & Statue Mono II” by kennysarmy is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0