UK Business and Charity Digital Index - Calls to action

Converting insight into action, the annual report provides calls to action, which have been shaped with partners. The recommendations are action points based on the key findings, and are applicable for the private, public and third sector. The below calls to action have been shaped with SMEs and charities at the heart.

We are keen to hear how you are taking action, please tweet us and join the conversation @LBGDigi using #BizIndex18 or get in contact by email

1. Focus on sole traders

There is a £43.3 billion opportunity for UK plc. if sole traders are moved up the digital capability ladder. The progression to improved digital capability, must be simplified and more user-centred:


  • As SMEs are notoriously time poor, bespoke, mobile, one-stop-shop training opportunities are vital for learning on the go.
  • As the 2017 Business Digital Index data shows, there must be an appreciation that less than half of all sole traders have ambitions to grow. As such, messaging must not be linked solely to growth, but to how they can be more efficient and improve productivity, profitability and wellbeing.
  • 14% more sole traders prefer support from a friend, relative or colleague compared with the UK average. We must support 'trusted faces in local places'.


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2. Converting digital understanding to adoption

The difference between the number of organisations who understand new technologies and those with the intention to adopt them is vast; for example, three-quarters of SMEs (72%) have an understanding of cybersecurity, yet only 46% seek to adopt in the next two years.

Industry and government must work together to make the market simpler to navigate and provide greater support to organisations.

Embedding the principle of 'knowing your customer', online analytics and user feedback should be a focus for learning curriculums. 'Problem Solving‘ is the final hurdle for SMEs and charities – only 65% and 64% respectively have this skill, and is the solution for many to achieving all five skills.

With more women having full Basic Digital Skills than men, driving gender representation across the workforce would help to develop the digital understanding of SMEs and charities, closing the gap with adoption.

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3. Support must be provided throughout the supply chain


Product, service and software providers can contribute to driving digital transformation for SMEs and charities in a number of ways:

  • Education:Building in end-user training and on-going support would help to on-board and embed new tech, ways of working and confidence for organisations. Cybersecurity measures must also be built in from the outset to keep organisations and their customers safe.
  • Motivation:Collective action must be taken to inspire and influence SMEs and charities, where possible providing a brand-impartial view.
  • Inclusion:Throughout the value chain, organisations must build in accessible and mobile design principles; without this they miss out on a large segment of the market.

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4. Embed Charity Digital Code of Practice and create a Code for SMEs


To continue growing capability and confidence for the third sector, the Charity Digital Code of Practice will be invaluable.

With SMEs facing little movement in full Basic Digital Skills, the same momentum should be replicated through building an SME Digital Code of Practice. This will help SMEs to understand clear frameworks and next steps of how to build digital capability and skills.

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5. Capitalise on existing initiatives


With initiatives such as Making Tax Digital being fully deployed in 2019, we must look to support SMEs onboarding onto this service and capitalise on it.

With a number of new organisations engaging for the first time, industry and government should work together to use it as an opportunity to signpost to other digital experiences, services and training. An example of this is the Lloyds Banking Group and Digital Skills Partnership signpost toolkit (please refer to the ‘Resources, archives and benchmark reports’ page).

Initiatives such as the Self-Funded Work Training tax breaks are another opportunity. Tax breaks for self-funded skills training should include and endorse digital up-skilling, irrespective of the sector or role the organisation has. Currently, only training relating directly to the present role is eligible.

* The Charity Digital Code of Practice, 2018
** Lloyds Bank UK Business and Charity Digital Index website
*** Self Funded Work Training, 2018

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