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Guest Post: Using Data for Good – the latest from the largest measure of UK Digital Capability and the new Essential Digital Skills Framework

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The Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index is the largest measure of financial and digital capability of people in the UK, and now in its third year of publication. In this guest post, Nick Williams, MD of Consumer and Commercial Digital at Lloyds Banking Group, discusses the recent launch of the third Index and the new Essential Digital Skills Framework.

Lloyds Consumer Digital Index launch

On 10 May, we were proud to launch both our third Consumer Digital Index (CDI) and, with the Department for Education and The Tech Partnership, the new Essential Digital Skills framework; both important tools for understanding the levels of digital capability in the UK and shaping future steps to drive social inclusion and productivity.

Following on from the creation of the Business Digital Index (BDI) in 2014, the CDI is a detailed annual report which benchmarks the digital and financial capability of UK consumers over time. It is powered by the anonymised behavioural data of over one million of our customers and combined with 9,000 face-to-face or telephone interviews, to get to the heart of what consumers are doing and how they think and feel about their digital and financial skills.

The report shows that progress has been made for digital inclusion, which is great news. In the last twelve months, 450,000 more people have at least one Basic Digital Skill (you can find out more details on what Basic Digital Skills are in this report by Tech Partnership). However there are 11.3m people in the UK who do not have the full range of Basic Digital Skills and will not be able to do things such as fill out forms online, write a CV in a Word document or upload a photo.

In order to understand how we might take a targeted approach with digital upskilling, this year we have analysed new demographics in detail, including those with a registered disability. We found that persons with a registered disability are four times more likely to be offline than the UK total average. Encouragingly, the data shows that one in three people in this demographic use digital skills to manage their health or feel part of a community. The CDI also clearly demonstrates this value of being online for those with a registered disability:

  • 4 in 10 say being online helps them feel less alone;
  • 7 in 10 say it helps them save time;
  • 5 in 10 say it helped them find a job;
  • 7 in 10 say digital banking helps them avoid overdraft fees.

Over 21m people in the UK also say that the internet helps them to feel less lonely – this benefit is particularly important in light of the Jo Cox Commission’s findings, especially that loneliness is as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Productivity of those in the workforce also forms part of the report for the first time, and I was thrilled to see that 9 million people in the UK are improving their own digital skills to increase workplace performance and productivity. However we have also seen that only 6% of people we surveyed thought their workplace was giving digital skills training to improve this. We want all employers to help out – but big employers can clearly have a role to play in making a difference.

As ever, to help move the dial, we work with a number of invaluable partners. Partners such as Good Things Foundation, Nominet, The Tech Partnership and other Digital Skills Partnership members have helped to shape the content, and also helped to create a fantastic launch event with lots of discussion and debate.  

We were delighted to be joined at the launch by Anne Milton MP, who brought to life the new Essential Digital Skills framework and the importance of digital skills. To evolve the insight we are providing to the Digital Skills Partnership, we have been working with The Tech Partnership, the Department for Education and over 40 partners to deliver, in consultation, the new Essential Digital Skills Framework; the evolution of the Basic Digital Skills measure. This framework will underpin the new Digital Skills Entitlement, providing free digital skills training to adults from 2020.

Margot James MP also, via video, talked about the Digital Skills Partnership and the importance of a data-driven approach and how collaboration can drive real progress.

Such collaboration must now gain momentum and drive change. With more detailed data than ever before, we hope that policymakers, practitioners and industry corporations alike will take on our calls to action:

The Power of Partnerships

    • With 470,000 fewer people with zero Basic Digital Skills and 190,000 more with a bank account, progress has been made, but not enough. Aligning online and offline experiences will help people to access support and advice when and where they need it. We believe it’s important that organisations work together to join these dots for end users.
    • To help support the most vulnerable citizens in the UK, as part of our role leading the Digital Enterprise Delivery Group for the Digital Skills Partnership, we are supporting a new Charity Digital Code of Practice. With our BDI results showing that 100,000 charities do not have Basic Digital Skills, we are working closely with Zoe Amar, the Charity Commission, Small Charities Coalition, NCVO and others to give charities the tools they need for success. A public consultation on this work launches in early July - to find out more, please follow #charitydigitalcode online or go to the website: 

Big employers can make a difference

  • 10% of the workforce does not have Basic Digital Skills, yet nine million people want to improve their productivity at work through digital. However only 6% of people are getting digital skills training through work, and it is important that employers help their own employees to help wider UK plc.
  • Promisingly, there are many brilliant initiatives already underway across many sectors - here at Lloyds we are investing more than ever in our colleague training, aiming to give colleagues 4.4 million hours of professional development a year. We are also supporting communities with our 25,500 strong Digital Champion network, each member of which has pledged to support two individuals, business and charities to improve their digital skills each year. We have created a host of online content (accessible here) that can help organisations of all sizes to develop a similar model.

Trusted organisations must safeguard customers and clearly communicate it

  • 8 in 10 people have concerns about online security, with identity theft being the main cause. As such it is incumbent on large organisations to ensure that their use of online data is compliant with best practice; and crucially they must communicate this compliance explicitly to customers.

Design for everyone

  • People with a registered disability are four times more likely to be offline. As I mentioned earlier, digital can make a real difference for this group, so all organisations and sectors have a key role to play in building accessible and inclusive products and services. We also recommend that any contact with the end users be supported with skills training where possible.

 I’m looking forward to another year of Lloyds Banking Group working alongside our partners and making a real difference to people and communities across the UK. If you want more information then please join the conversation online at #DigitalIndex18, contact the team at or visit the Digital Index site here. As ever, we’d love to hear from you.

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