UK National Delivery Plan 2023
An overview of the six missions
1. Increase awareness among government, politicians, industry, and the public about the need for strategic and sustainable action to end digital poverty.
This mission focuses on advocacy, working across society to build support for digital inclusion, advocating for a long-term, UK-wide digital inclusion strategy, and making a compelling investment case for an integrated cross-sector programme of digital inclusion. By raising awareness and mobilising support, this mission aims to achieve a society where digital inclusion is prioritised and where everyone can access and benefit from digital technologies.
2. Ensure affordable connectivity and guarantee full digital access for those in need on a sustainable basis.
The mission focuses on encouraging employers and individuals to donate devices to those in need and urging UK and Devolved Governments to guarantee devices, connectivity, and support to individuals at the highest risk of digital exclusion. The mission also involves ensuring that everyone has access to centres for supported digital access and advocating for a co-funded, industry-wide social tariff. Advocating for new investment in digital inclusion could be facilitated by replacing the VAT charged on broadband and mobile bills with a digital inclusion levy.
3. Improve standards of accessibility, safety, and inclusiveness across all digital products and services.
The mission involves raising awareness about the importance of accessibility and inclusive design, ensuring that public sector websites and services offer assisted digital support, and that service design is genuinely inclusive. The mission also aims to promote media literacy and training at all stages of life, and seeks to create more responsive mechanisms for enforcing accessibility requirements.
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.
The mission involves expanding formal and informal digital skills support, and encouraging employers to establish digital champion programs within their organisations. The mission seeks to ensure that schools, colleges, and universities can embed digital skills throughout all phases of education and to develop a tech ambassadors programme to improve digital skills within education. Additionally, it advocates for an expert-led review to identify high-priority areas where digital skills training will have the most significant impact on addressing social inequalities and an independent review of the essential digital skills landscape across the four nations.
5. Enhance knowledge and understanding of digital poverty among all stakeholders, including citizens, governments, and the public and private sectors, through the development and use of research.
The mission involves establishing a universal definition of digital poverty to ensure consistency in the term’s use. Practical insights about how individuals use technology will be developed through proof of concept projects and through advocating for a longitudinal study that tracks changes in digital poverty over time. Additionally, research will be conducted to document the lived experiences of people experiencing digital poverty.
6. Increase local capacity to provide joined-up digital inclusion support to individuals and communities.
The mission focuses on advocating for a designated digital inclusion lead in each local authority, improving data capture on digital poverty, supporting NHS and health services to address digital inclusion, sharing examples of joined-up, community-led support, and empowering housing associations and community organisations to provide digital inclusion support.
A phased approach to 2030
The National Delivery Plan outlines an initial roadmap for ending digital poverty by 2030. We will use a phased approach that provides the basis for immediate action over the short term and a framework for action over the longer term. The steps taken during the initial phases will inform the development of subsequent phases.
A full action list is included in the appendix and breaks down the key actions for delivery in 2023/24 and actions that need to happen by 2030. For each of the actions, we have identified ‘key stakeholders’ who we identify as important to take actions forward. In some cases, these are organisations that have agreed to take actions forward. In other cases, we have identified organisations that we think are well-placed to do so. At this stage, we have identified ‘key organisations’ rather than ‘action owners’, but we hope that more explicit designations around action ownership will be incorporated into subsequent versions of this plan. As key stakeholders may differ depending on national contexts, we have defined key stakeholders across Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland where relevant.
To ensure that the plan remains responsive to changing circumstances, detailed timelines for activity will be refreshed on a two-year cycle. As this plan involves collaboration between governments, employers, and civil society, it is difficult to predict when each action will be completed. However, the DPA and its community of members will work together to use all available levers to compel action.
To achieve this, we will establish a new National Delivery Committee (NDC) that will be responsible for monitoring progress against the NDP. The NDC will comprise members of the existing DPA Community Board. The DPA convenes a broad cross-section of individuals and organisations committed to ending digital poverty. As independent organisations with their own strategies and priorities, NDC members will be in a better position to support some actions rather than focusing on them all. We do hope, however, that by providing a regular forum to focus attention on the National Delivery Plan, progress against key actions can be made.
Additionally, we will publish an annual progress review report outlining the actions that have been achieved and providing an overview of any changes made to the core plan. The objective of the review report is to ensure visibility and transparency on the progress of actions in the plan. It will provide a mechanism to assure stakeholders, including the public, that the actions identified in the plan are being implemented and to determine where further action is needed across all sectors.
At the start of each new phase, the progress of actions is evaluated, and the plan is appraised to ensure continued alignment with mission themes based on the current context.
Our process to develop this plan
The National Delivery Plan represents the culmination of the work of the Digital Poverty Alliance to date and has been produced through engagement with hundreds of individuals and organisations. To ensure broad stakeholder engagement, expert panels were convened based on the six recommendations identified through the UK Digital Poverty Evidence Review. Participants were identified to contribute to these panels based on their knowledge and expertise in relation to a specific recommendation area. The goal of the expert panels was to provide an open forum for participants to contribute ideas and develop concrete actions for government, business, and the third sector.
Each of these expert panels met three times between October 2022-March 2023.
The expert panels were grouped according to the following themes:
- Support for the whole journey
- Affordable and sustainable inclusion
- Inclusive and accessible design
- Skills to engage and empower
- Building the evidence-base
- People-centred and community-embedded intervention
The initial panels provided the opportunity for broad exploratory discussions in relation to each of the themes. Summaries and transcripts from the session were reviewed and analysed to identify a series of proposed actions. Prior to the third series of panels, attendees were provided with briefing materials containing a summary of actions and a series of discussion questions designed to evaluate the necessity and feasibility of the proposed actions. The briefing materials and questions were adapted to each panel and incorporated relevant information from the evidence review and previous panels.
In addition to the expert panels, we conducted two series of roundtable discussions with local authorities and corporates. Civil servants across government departments were also engaged to discuss and assess the viability of actions, as were relevant ministers and shadow ministers.
Throughout this process, we consulted with the DPA community and refined this plan based on feedback from Learning Foundation Trustees, members of our Community Board and our network of ambassadors. Overall, we designed this process to be inclusive, collaborative, and evidence-based, and a full range of members, partners, and stakeholders had the opportunity to contribute to the development of the plan.
In this iteration of the plan, we have not set quantitative targets against the actions. Although we would like to have done so, we do not have adequate baseline data to set targets that would be meaningful at this stage. Where possible, however, we have indicated on significant milestones in relation to an action in the action tables. There are a range of existing surveys that will be relevant to monitor changes in relation to some of the action areas identified, but in most cases, new indicators and measurements will need to be developed. This is an area that we hope to develop in fuller detail in subsequent iterations of the plan.