Source: Go On UK
For the first time, you can now see the likely level of digital exclusion at Local Authority level right across the UK, including brand new figures on levels of Basic Digital Skills collected for Go ON UK by Ipsos Mori in association with Lloyds Banking Group.
Almost a year ago I raised the need for a clear picture across the UK of who was and wasn’t benefitting from the internet and where. And today, Go ON UK is launching the UK’s first ever Digital Exclusion Heatmap to do exactly that.
We’re also delighted to be launching Go ON Local, a new online toolkit and collaborative platform to help Local Authorities and communities address the issue. Both tools will allow policy-makers and digital inclusion organisations to better target activity where it’s most needed and kick-start a real upwards shift in the numbers of people gaining Basic Digital Skills.
What is the Digital Exclusion Heatmap?
The Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap shows an overall indicator of likely digital exclusion. You can then drill down below this to see eight separate indicators, four digital and four social, which combine to indicate exclusion.
These figures allow us to identify which of these factors is contributing the most to the likelihood of digital exclusion in any area and therefore which is the most pressing issue to address. All the data used in the map is fully open source.
What has the map shown us so far?
There are some interesting findings. Whilst Scotland scores low overall in terms of infrastructure, it has the highest levels of Basic Digital Skills of all the four UK nations. In Manchester, nearly 80% of adults have all five Basic Digital Skills, but only one-third have used them in the past 3 months. Cardiff has high levels of Basic Digital Skills compared to the areas immediately around it and compared to the UK as a whole, even though Wales is the nation with the lowest overall levels of Basic Digital Skills.
The Heatmap also shows that social indicators like age and income significantly increase the likelihood of exclusion, regardless of how highly the digital indicators in that region score. In Dundee and Torbay, for example, the digital indicators show a low likelihood of exclusion whilst the social indicators reveal a high likelihood. Conversely, Cambridge scores highly on the social indicators but still has a medium risk of overall exclusion.
There is no single cause of digital exclusion
What our Heatmap shows is that there is no single cause of digital exclusion, and therefore no one-size-fits-all solution either. Instead, Go ON Local provides a self-service online representation of the regional programmes that Go ON UK rolled out in the North East and the North West - areas where the new data on Basic Digital Skills shows improved levels of skills significantly above the national average.
Go ON Local is still in Beta phase; there is more to do to develop it and much more to add to it. So we want Local Authorities and communities to see this as their resource and to upload their content and collaborate together to make the tool as useful as possible.
Let's increase the level of digital inclusion across the UK
For us at Go ON UK, today is a new beginning. By highlighting the likely causes of digital exclusion in each Local Authority area and providing resources to address it we hope to see much greater targeting of activity by those working on digital skills and inclusion projects, and as a result see much greater impact across the whole of the UK.