UK Digital Poverty
National Delivery Plan 2023
For the Digital Poverty Alliance Community
Messages, Principles and Missions
Our approach to the plan
The Challenge of Digital Poverty
Mission One: Increase awareness across society about the need for sustainable and strategic action to end digital poverty.
Mission Two: Ensure affordable connectivity and guarantee access to devices and connectivity for those in need.
Mission Three: Improve standards of accessibility, safety, and inclusiveness across all digital products and services.
Mission Four: 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.
Mission Five: Develop our understanding of digital poverty and enhance knowledge and information sharing through the creation of research sharing networks.
Mission Six: Increase local capacity to provide joined-up digital inclusion support to individuals and communities.
List of actions
Conclusion: Summary & Risks
References & Appendix I, II, III
This plan was created through collaboration with partners and stakeholders throughout the UK.
We thank the hundreds of individuals and organisations who generously contributed their insights and expertise to our expert panels and events. Their invaluable contributions were instrumental in shaping this plan.
Additionally, special thanks are owed to the entire Digital Poverty Alliance and Learning Foundation Team, the Digital Poverty Alliance Founders Board, the Digital Poverty Alliance Community Board and Ambassadors boards and the Learning Foundation Trustees.
We recognise the integral role that the entire DPA community has played in producing this plan, and we are grateful for their continued dedication and partnership.
From the Digital Poverty Alliance:
- Paul Finnis
- Elizabeth Anderson
- Tom Lowe
- Ellie Crouch
- Alyson Hwang
- Natalie Jubb
- Adele Kersey
- Keelan Meade
- Jackie Mitchell
- Alex Rose
- Kate Towey
- Fiona Wong
For doing case study interviews:
- Alex Barker, AbilityNet
- Simeon Yates, University of Liverpool
- Selwyn Thompson, Dukes Secondary School
- James McKee, East Ayrshire Council
- Scott Tandy, Newydd Housing Association
- Catrin Hale, Currys Plc
For chairing expert panels:
- Robin Knowles, Digital Leaders
- Amy Low, AbilityNet
- Beverly Clarke
- Emma Weston, DigitalUnite
- Julia Adamson, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
- Kira Allmann, Manchester City Council
- Polly Morgan, iDEA Foundation
Ending digital poverty is critical to building a stronger and more equal society. The integration of digital technologies into so many aspects of our lives has completely transformed culture and society but is not yet fully inclusive.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how much we have come to rely on the internet to accomplish everyday tasks: from connecting with family and friends to studying for exams and working from home. The pandemic also highlighted that the benefits and opportunities of digital access were not evenly distributed across society.
This inequality is not limited to the availability of devices, connectivity, and skills but also the extent to which individuals can fully utilise the online world to connect, engage, and unlock new opportunities. Over time, the accelerating pace of technological change will only intensify the need to solve the problem of digital exclusion.
This is why the Digital Poverty Alliance have produced the National Delivery Plan which sets out a roadmap for how we can end digital poverty by 2030. Overall, the UK has a very strong foundation to build upon when it comes to our collective digital inclusion infrastructure. What is needed, however, is greater political leadership and investment to ensure that solutions can be scaled and sustained over the long-term.
Taking the UK Digital Poverty Evidence Review as its basis, this plan set out a comprehensive list of areas where action is needed. This document is based around 6 missions to end digital poverty by 2030. The six missions are:
- Increase awareness across society about the need for sustainable and strategic action to end digital poverty.
- Ensure affordable connectivity and guarantee full digital access for those in need.
- Improve standards of accessibility, safety, and inclusiveness across al digital products and services.
- 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.
- 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.
- Increase local capacity to provide joined-up digital inclusion support to individuals and communities.
Associated with each of the missions are a list of actions that have been generated by the UK Digital Poverty Evidence review and through extensive stakeholder consultations. This document sets out the key actions and the organisations that the DPA has identified as important to help take them forward.
It is important to note that the release of the National Delivery Plan is not a destination, but an important milestone as part of an ongoing process. As such, there are aspects of the plan which will be reviewed and updated in line with changing circumstances. What we do hope, however, is that the plan provides a platform to catalyse action and focus attention towards solving digital poverty once and for all.
Lord Jim Knight: Chair Emeritus of the Digital Poverty Alliance
Reflections from our Founding Partners
Paula Coughlan, Chief People, Communications and Sustainability Officer, Currys plc
“Currys’ vision, to help everyone enjoy amazing technology, has a powerful social purpose at its heart. We believe in the power of technology to improve lives and help people stay connected, productive, healthy, and entertained. We pride ourselves on bringing technology to more people through our competitive pricing, access to online and physical stores, and affordable and responsible credit offering. But that’s not all: because our social purpose is at the heart of what we do, we also support causes that help those who might otherwise be excluded to benefit from amazing technology.
Tackling digital poverty is a priority for us. Digital inclusion is no longer something that’s a ‘nice to have’ – it’s an essential. And with digitisation continuing to flourish – bringing great advantages to individuals, communities and businesses – our reliance on technology is only likely to grow.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we became one of three founding partners of the Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA) and established the DPA’s first proof of concept programme, Tech4Teachers, which provides laptops to teachers at schools in schools disadvantaged communities. But the digital poverty problem goes far beyond teachers. It’s a macro issue that needs systemic change.
With the Evidence Review last summer and now the National Delivery Plan published, we couldn’t be prouder of what’s been achieved. Digital poverty is finally starting to get the recognition and airtime it needs. But there’s still much to do, and we must take the opportunity to act.
Addressing digital poverty is a huge opportunity both economically and societally. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity that, if not taken up, will lead to even more dire circumstances for those living in digital poverty. We have the momentum to drive real and meaningful systemic change, and ultimately, change people’s lives for the better. But we need more industry action and we need the government’s support. There’s a lot of work ahead of us but we can and must succeed.”
Ed Almond, Chief Executive at the Institution for Engineering & Technology
“The National Delivery Plan by the Digital Poverty Alliance presents a crucial opportunity to combat digital poverty in the UK. As a founding partner of this alliance, the Institution of Engineering and Technology recognises the urgency to address this pressing issue. We are eager to collaborate with all stakeholders across the Digital Poverty Alliance and beyond to collectively take forward the actions outlined in this plan and build upon the foundations established thus far. The focus on the six missions provides an important step to make concerted efforts to tackle the digital divide in the UK, and we are fully committed to working together to achieve this goal.”
Niel Mclean, Chair of Trustees for The Learning Foundation
“The National Delivery Plan is a landmark policy roadmap to tackling a lack of access to digital skills, devices, and broadband connectivity in the UK, and lays the groundwork for government, industry, and communities to take urgent action. We saw in the pandemic how critical digital was in an area such as the education sector, as one in five students home schooling lacking access to an appropriate device to learn – digital is a basic right and going without it has serious implications in day-to-day life for millions.”
Pledge Action Today
Take the next step – find out how you and your organisation can use the National Delivery Plan’s six missions to address digital poverty in the UK.
Read the overview
We have condensed the following National Delivery Plan 2023 into a 10 page PDF. This provides an overview of our approach, the six missions and their suggested actions.