My Department currently co-funds the salary of a Broadband Officer in each of the 31 Local Authorities across the country. The Broadband Officers were appointed to support the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, which I chair. The Taskforce is working to improve mobile phone and broadband services for all users by identifying and addressing issues that can enhance those services.
Under the 2018 Work Programme of the Taskforce, the County and City Management Association (CCMA), with support from my Department, has committed to reviewing the role of the Broadband Officers in order to clearly define and standardise the role across all Local Authorities, and to put in place structures to provide a greater level of support to the Broadband Officers.
I understand that a proposal document is currently being drafted on behalf of the CCMA by one Local Authority and this document will be reviewed by the CCMA. Ultimately, the question of establishing a Digital Development Office will be a matter for the Local Authorities to decide.