Digital inclusion must improve, report says

The Carnegie UK Trust has today called for a new focus on tackling digital exclusion north of the border.

Publishing a new report, Digital Participation and Social Justice in Scotland, the Trust has highlighted the significant overlap between digital exclusion and other forms of social and economic inequality. It argues that to solve this problem, all organisations delivering services across the public and charitable sectors need to take action to help everyone enjoy the benefits that digital can offer.

The report, which was funded by the Scottish Government, is based on in-depth analysis of the Scottish Household Survey carried out for the Trust by Ipsos MORI. This analysis reveals who is most likely to be offline, why this is the case and what might be done to tackle this problem. It also calls for charities, governments and public service providers to take a more robust approach in helping those left behind in the digital revolution.

Douglas White, Head of Advocacy at the Trust, said: “Digital participation – helping everyone to get online and maximise the benefits of digital technology – is arguably one of the great social challenges of our age.

“We know the great advantages that being digitally connected can offer – improved employment opportunities, higher levels of educational attainment, cheaper goods and products and better access to public services. However, too often those who are excluded from these benefits are the very same people who are also disadvantaged according to most other social and economic measures. This means that digital technology – the great enabling force of the 21st century – is actually exacerbating rather than bridging long-standing inequalities in our society.

“It doesn’t have to be this way – and all of us who interested in improving wellbeing have a role in tackling this issue.”

The research builds on previous studies the Trust has undertaken, looking at the digital divide in different locations across Scotland and in mapping best practice digital participation activities across the UK.

This week is National Customer Service Week, and we’re  focusing on issues around customer services in the public sector.

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