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UK’s Digital Inclusion Plan for Offline Londoners

UK’s Digital Inclusion Plan for Offline Londoners

In a bid to support Londoners who are digitally excluded, the London Recovery Board’s Digital Access for All Mission, jointly chaired by the Mayor of London and London Councils has set a goal for every Londoner to have access to good connectivity basic digital skills and the device or support they needed to be online by 2025.

As part of this mission, the London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) and the Good Things Foundation Authority (GLA) launched the digital inclusion innovation programme (DIIP) for the digitally excluded Londoners, particularly as a result of the Covid19 pandemic. Under the programme, offline London residents will be provided with affordable devices and free or low-cost mobile connectivity to help around 75,000 people online over the next three years.

The DIIP aims to deliver positive results for London residents, public sector and voluntary sector staff (VCS) staff and the wider community of organizations that support digitally excluded people.

The two-year-long programme aims to provide:

For residents: A minimum access package that provides a list of options, backed by a range of reliable and affordable provisions to meet individuals’ essential device, data, and skills needs.

For boroughs/VCS: Practitioners who work with digitally excluded Londoners will have easy access to quality information, resources, services, and peer support to identify what works, and the range of mature interventions that can be scaled.

For corporates: Details of the exact need in London will be more easily accessible, giving corporates a greater ability to provide their services and offers of charitable support to where they are most needed.

The programme strives to identify the existing availability of resources, determine examples of best practices that can be scaled, design new initiatives to fill gaps in provision, make them discoverable by residents and practitioners, and incorporate them into service models.

The digital inclusion innovation programme (DIIP) aims to deliver more specific outcomes in 3 areas:

  • Understanding needs -- Identifying the people and places that are digitally excluded and understanding what they need.
  • Innovating in supply -- Maximising the provision of devices, data, skills training, funding, and other sources of digital inclusion support.
  • Developing Services - Getting the right support to the right people in a scheduled timeframe.

DIIP works with Connected London and Digital Skills/AEB, alongside around 100 other initiatives and reports to the Digital Exclusion Taskforce (DET) under London Recovery Taskforce Economic Sub Group and London Recovery Board.

As per Lloyds Bank’s Essential digital skills report 2021, close to 270,000 people in London have either no access to the internet or no digital access, and around two million may have a device but cannot get online or use online services.

The organization’s key motivation is to provide devices through voluntary donations, and address the lack of connectivity and digital skills handicaps. Additionally, it also aims to support unbanked individuals to transact online, close language barrier gaps as well as tackle physical and mental disabilities of individuals that hinder online engagement.