We help organisations tackle digital exclusion.
We can help you understand the issue more deeply, and assist with strategy and implementation plans. We can also support delivery.
Our expertise and offer
Our flagship offer is Switch, which will help you increase uptake of your digital services. Our Switch programme has Big Lottery match funding available for the next 20 partners.
We have a broad understanding of the many issues surrounding digital inclusion. Read our reports on:
- The Case for a Systemic Approach to Digital Skills (pdf, 2014) – which covers our perspective on how the revelance of digital inclusion to employability skills.
- Digital Accessibility: a brief landscaping (pdf, 2015) – summarising the state of play regarding digital accessibility, looking at trends in demographics and technology; the policy and standards landscape; and the case for digital accessibility for businesses and other organisations
- Get IT Together: a longitudinal study (pdf, 2014) – research evaluating the impact of digital skills over the longer term, including employment outcomes.
We can also support you with:
- Bespoke research and evaluation.
- Delivery and design of awards or grant giving schemes.
- As a trusted charity partner for your own programmes.
What is the issue?
Digital inclusion is about ensuring the benefits of the internet and digital technologies are available to everyone. Excluded people often lack skills, confidence and motivation, along with limited or no access to equipment and connectivity.
The two main indicators of potential digital exclusion are being older and/or having low educational attainment. Digital inclusion (and related issues) can also be called digital participation, digital capability, digital or media literacy, digital engagement, digital equality or digital accessibility.
Estimates for the proportion and number of people who are digitally excluded in the UK vary. The ONS’ annual survey of Internet users estimated in 2017 that 11.1% of UK adults had either never used the internet, or last used it over 3 months ago. That’s 5.8 million people.
However, digital inclusion isn’t only about whether people can access the internet, it’s also about their ability to use it.
21% (11.5m) of UK adults are classified as not having all five Basic Digital Skills, according to 2016 research by Ipsos Mori for the 2017 Lloyds Consumer Digital Index. The Tech Partnership provide a document (pdf) providing more detail on the basic digital skills model and how it applies to both individuals and organisations.
For more statistics, see the GOV.uk Digital Inclusion Dashboard.
Digital inclusion statistics are useful for developing strategies, but they can sometimes appear contradictory and there are a high number of potential sources. We can help you understand national statistics and what the data say about the risk of digital exclusion in your local area: contact us.
The importance of partnership
The best way to help digitally excluded people is to provide timely and informal support, in venues that they already use and look for things that provide a “hook” (like a hobby or specific need) rather than focusing on the technology itself.
The larger issue that holds back digital inclusion is the resourcing of support. How in the era of cuts and squeezed budgets can sufficient resources be found to tackle such a large issue? The answer is through partnership and collaboration, where specific partner needs are met.
Partnership is an essential foundation for digital inclusion strategies. No one organisation can solve this issue alone. A successful digital inclusion strategy and action plan will be based on:
- Knowing what current partners are already doing and what they have to offer
- Ensuring that the specific needs of individual partners are understood and met
- Finding a way to work together to resource and plug the gaps in provision
We have worked with Local Authorities, Housing Associations, Job Centre Plus, regional health organisations such as Clinical Commissioning Groups, regional economic organisations including Local Economic Partnerships, private sector businesses, third sector organisations and networks providing advice and guidance, and organisations providing training directly.
We understand that every different partner we work with brings a unique value to digital inclusion work, and each will have their particular needs.
Whatever organisation you work for, if you think we can help you achieve your goals, please get in touch with us.