The digital inclusion team at the Government Digital Service have just blogged about the checklist for digital inclusion that we would like your views on. The checklist will help us in developing the digital inclusion strategy and act as a guide for organisations involved in helping people to get online. In other words, if we do these things, we’re doing digital inclusion. We first blogged about a set of digital inclusion principles when we published action 15 of the Government Digital Strategy.
Why a checklist for digital inclusion?
Before moving forward with the development of the strategy, we felt that we should first come up with a set of overarching principles that would steer us in our approaches to addressing the challenges we are facing and help to prioritise the actions we need to take. This started as a set of principles, but we felt that this phrase wasn’t open enough - it is an alpha after all. We settled on a ‘checklist’ that we will iterate and evolve with the feedback and advice we receive.
How did we get to this stage?
Being open and transparent is really important to us and we have been consulting at every stage with organisations who represent the people we are trying to reach. Over the last three months we have been working with partners from across government, private, voluntary and public sectors to understand what works, what doesn’t and bring together the tremendous knowledge and insight that exists on the challenge of digital exclusion and how we can work together to tackle it.
Our engagement with government departments has been through the newly formed digital inclusion sub-group, the members of which were appointed by each department’s Digital Leader. We also meet regularly with our external stakeholder advisory group which consists of about 30 representatives from the private, voluntary, public and local government sectors. Companies like Asda, Lloyds Bank and BT sit alongside digital skills providers like Tinder Foundation and Citizens Online, as well as representatives of those offline, including Shelter, Peabody Housing Association and Age UK, to share their experience and ideas with us.
We also partnered with Southwark Council to host a London local authority digital inclusion symposium where we were able to gather some inspirational best practice case studies and understand better how we can support the needs of local government in helping their residents get online. Another event is being held this month in Cambridge with representatives attending from 8 east of England local authorities and we are hoping to partner with some other local authorities across the country this year.
Through one-to-one discussions and group workshops, we started out by identifying the main barriers for people, small businesses and charities to getting online. Immediately we could see some themes emerge including motivation, skills, access, awareness and trust. Using these themes we developed a set of user stories to help us better understand the complex needs of the people we are trying to support and the approach required to help them get online. These workshops resulted in a set of principles and key actions we could collectively take to improve digital inclusion.
We will continue to gather feedback and comments over the coming weeks through face-to-face conversations and workshops with a variety of digitally excluded groups and the organisations that support them. We will continue to grow and share our evidence base to inform and shape the digital inclusion strategy which we hope to publish in early Spring.
Comments and feedback on the checklist can be submitted on the checklist blog page or you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.