The Digital Poverty Alliance has set out a landmark strategy to end digital poverty by 2030, launching its National Delivery Plan at a community event in Leeds.
The event set out the six core missions of the National Delivery Plan, including calls for a new digital inclusion strategy to raise awareness of digital poverty by the government, and calls for a new entitlement to provide affordable access to devices, connectivity and digital support.
The hybrid community event took place at the Leeds Central Library and virtually, featuring talks from the DPA’s CEO Paul Finnis, and Head of Policy and Communications Tom Lowe, followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A about the strategy.
Speaking at the event, Paul Finnis, CEO of the Digital Poverty Alliance and Learning Foundation, said: “A major aspect of the unique and revolutionary National Delivery Plan is the emphasis on support at a community level, assisting those in the areas hit hardest by a lack of access to critical digital services. In areas such as Leeds, joined-up digital inclusion support is essential to ensure that people are afforded access to devices, digital skills and online connectivity to carry out day-to-day essential tasks such as e-learning, job applications, online banking and digital healthcare. We recognise and have huge respect for the enormous effort and commitment of the 100 per cent Digital Leeds programme led by the digital inclusion team in the Integrated Digital Service (IDS) at Leeds City Council and Leeds Health and Care Partnership. Leeds leads the way in many ways in England and we also recognise the enormous success of the Digital Leeds Festival.
“To truly tackle and resolve the issue of digital exclusion requires a national communal effort from the government, industry and communities to support those most in need. The DPA and its alliance of organisations and individuals represented through its Community Board will continue to prioritise local communities as a central facet of the National Delivery Plan as part of this collaboration to ensure that everyone has access to the resources they need in our digital age.”
Research shows that around 1.7 million households in the UK (6 per cent) are without home internet access, while around 10 million adults (20 per cent) lack foundational essential digital skills. In Yorkshire & Humber specifically, 48 per cent of people said they cut back on at least one digital device in 2022, with 44 per cent saying cutting back on devices left them feeling socially isolated.
The National Delivery Plan sets out a roadmap to ensure that everyone receives the support they need through access to devices, skills and connectivity to benefit from the essentials of the digital world.
The six core missions of the National Delivery Plan are to:
1. Increase awareness across society about the need for sustainable and strategic action to end digital poverty.
2. Ensure affordable connectivity and guarantee full digital access for those in need on a sustainable basis.
3. Improve standards of accessibility, safety, and inclusiveness across all digital products and services.
4. By 2030, significantly reduce the proportion of individuals without essential digital skills and ensure the sustainability and expansion of these skills in response to changing technologies and needs.
5. Enhance knowledge and understanding of digital poverty among all stakeholders, including citizens, governments, and the public and private sectors, through the development and utilisation of research.
6. Increase local capacity to provide joined-up digital inclusion support to individuals and communities.
To read the full National Delivery Plan, please visit: https://digitalpovertyalliance.org/uk-national-delivery-plan-2023/
Author: Elizabeth Anderson, Chief Operating Officer at the Digital Poverty Alliance