Action on digital inclusion is needed, a new report advocates, with 6.9 million people set to remain digitally excluded by 2028 at the current rate of investment.
Good Things Foundation have published a Blueprint for a 100% Digitally Included Nation, setting out the actions needed to help everyone in the UK benefit from the digital world by 2028.
Digital exclusion in the UK is holding back economic growth and stalling social inclusion. 11.3 million adults lack one or more of the basic digital skills for life and work. And research published by Good Things Foundation earlier this year discovered that, at current rates of progress, by 2028 there will still be 6.9 million people – 12% of the population – without these skills. The report further found that the UK can benefit by £21.9 billion within a decade by upskilling the entire population in digital skills.
In response to these findings, Good Things Foundation launched the #BridgingtheDigitalDivide campaign, calling for Government and companies throughout the UK to pledge their commitment to achieving a 100% digital included nation by 2028. Organisations that have already pledged their support include Lloyds Banking Group, Google, Capita, Leeds City Council and many more.
Now, Good Things Foundation have developed a Blueprint for a 100% Digitally Included Nation. It sets out six objectives that they believe are critical in achieving a fully digitally included nation by 2028:
- Set a bold ambition: agree a goal of a 100% digitally included nation by 2028
- Drive motivation: promote the benefits of the internet
- Build skills: provide free essential digital skills support for everyone who needs it
- Lead from the front: employers taking responsibility for their own employees
- Make it affordable: ensure no-one is denied access to the digital world because of their personal income
- Make digital a social priority: bring social inclusion and digital inclusion together to develop practical solutions to the big challenges facing society today and, in the future,
Helen Milner OBE, Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation, said “Digital exclusion in the UK is holding back economic growth and stalling social inclusion. In a world where we increasingly rely on digital in all areas of our lives, current rates of progress are too slow.
“Everyone in the UK should have the confidence, skills, support and access to use digital technology to participate in society and benefit from the digital world. And we want to move faster towards realising this aim. Our vision is a world where everyone has the opportunity to benefit from digital. Our new Blueprint for 100% Digital Inclusion sets out the six objectives that we believe are critical in achieving this goal.
“We are calling on organisations big and small, and from all and any sector to commit to the ambitious partner goal of a 100% digitally included nation by 2028, join the campaign and help spread the word.”
The Blueprint was discussed at a Parliamentary roundtable on Monday 26 November, with Darren Jones MP, Chi Onwurah MP, Baroness Dido Harding and Lord Clement-Jones CBE, contributing their thoughts on the Blueprint. It is supported by following organisations who have pledged to get 100% of the UK thriving in a digital world by 2028: Tech London Advocates, Nesta, Stockport Metropolitan Council, Demos, Tech Nation, NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, Salford City Council, Leeds City Council, Freeformers, SCVO, HOLEX, BT, Lloyds Banking Group, Google and more.
Chi Onwurah MP, Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne Central and Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Science and Innovation, said: “I welcome the important work being done by Good Things Foundation in ensuring that everyone can benefit from our digital future. For me there is no doubt that technology can be both transformative and democratic. However, my constituents are forced to use food banks because they are sanctioned if they don’t job search online. Increasing digital literacy must be a priority so that everyone can participate in the digital world and improve their life chances. Good Things Foundation’s Blueprint for 100% Digital Inclusion marks an important step towards achieving digital inclusion. I’m proud that Labour’s proposed National Educational Service will provide free, high-quality education – including in digital skills – to people of all ages.”
Maisie Clark Bilotti, Public Policy & Government Affairs Manager at Google, said: "We're pleased to support the Bridging the Digital Divide campaign, and are taking action to ensure 100% of the UK nation is digitally included. We're doing this through delivering free digital skills training across the country to help 100,000 people in the UK find a job or grow their business by 2020, and we're pleased to be working with partners including Good Things Foundation to achieve this."
Good Things Foundation is a social change charity that supports socially excluded people to improve their lives through digital. Digital technology and community action are at the heart of everything we do. We bring together thousands of community partners to make up the Online Centres Network, reaching deep into communities to help people gain the support and skills they need to change their lives and overcome social challenges.