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Government Digital Services announces success for digital inclusion initiatives

The Government Digital Service (GDS (opens in new tab)) has explained what it has been doing to tackle digital exclusion and the successes it has achieved so far.

The government’s Digital Inclusion Strategy (opens in new tab) was published in April 2014 in response to findings that there are still 21 per cent people in the UK who lack basic digital skills and capabilities needed to realise the benefits of the Internet.

Whitehall set out to increase awareness and understanding of digital inclusion within government Departments, help foster closer collaborations between the public, private and voluntary sectors and recently launched an Outcomes Framework to measure digital inclusion projects (opens in new tab).

According to GDS, it has used the past few months to broaden its scope and rather than focusing on digital inclusion on national terms, it has turned its focus locally.

“We know that there are a huge number of initiatives being led by organisations such as local authorities, local enterprise partnerships and housing associations up and down the country, and many of these go entirely unheralded,” claimed GDS digital inclusion advisor Zach Johnstone (opens in new tab).

“We want to showcase this activity and highlight best practice, not just to understand what makes certain initiatives so successful but also to think about how it can be replicated elsewhere,” he added.

According to GDS, there are five key factors which are crucial to successful, sustainable digital inclusion activity and it has revealed the first two as understanding who is digitally excluded and effective partnerships.

The Digital Inclusion blog (opens in new tab) highlights a number of success stories for each of the two factors to demonstrate best practice.

GDS claims that initiatives in Southwark, Lambeth and Newcastle have recognised the importance of knowing the scale and shape of the problem, allowing them to target resources where they are most needed.

Meanwhile, it says that the partnership between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Barclays Digital Eagles and Bristol City Council and BT/Citizens Online and BT and UNICEF are good demonstrations of how partnerships can increase levels of digital inclusion.