Across the Divide Tackling Digital Exclusion in Glasgow
Carnegie UK Trust, By Douglas White
Based on the findings from our research, we have set out four key recommendations which we believe can support the drive to tackle digital exclusion in Glasgow and further afield.
• The newly established ‘Digital Participation Glasgow’ group should provide strategic oversight and leadership to the goal of tackling digital exclusion in Glasgow.
– The initial primary focus of the group should be to tackle the barriers to digital participation for those citizens who currently have no access to the internet at home.
– The group should consider adding to its membership organisations with a stake in improving digital access in the city and who can play a leading role in helping to achieve this objective. This may include Glasgow Life, digital content and infrastructure companies, the local voluntary sector, employer organisations, and public sector service providers including the health service and key City Council departments.
– Consideration should be given as to how the group links in with other digital participation structures in Glasgow, including the Digital Glasgow Board, the Citizen Participation work stream in the City Council digital strategy, and Scotland-wide digital participation structures.
– A key role for the group should be to help co-ordinate the activities of its different members specifically around digital participation, and identify opportunities for shared initiatives to maximise impact, avoid duplication and fill gaps in service provision.
– As a first step in this process, the group should conduct a comprehensive mapping exercise, to identify the full range of different digital participation initiatives currently being offered or delivered in Glasgow.
– Partners involved in the Digital Participation Glasgow group should seek to establish a Glasgow Digital Participation Fund, which could be used to support joint initiatives to improve digital participation in the city. If the group was to constitute itself as a legal entity, it could also apply for funds from other sources, such as the Big Lottery.
– The group should create a single, citywide ‘brand’ which could be used as a badge for all initiatives focused on tackling digital exclusion in Glasgow. The brand should emphasise the benefits and opportunities digital participation might offer and focus on different ‘hooks’, motivations or personal interests which may help to engage different groups of citizens. Consideration should be given the role that could be played by local ‘role models’ or ‘digital champions’. The brand should tie in with the new ‘Digital Scotland’ brand being developed at national level.
– Partners should seek to identify how trusted intermediaries, such as voluntary workers, community development workers, health professionals, librarians, social workers and housing officers, can help to deliver the personalised, differentiated approach that is needed to help different groups of citizens in Glasgow to get online.
– The group should use the data presented in this report to inform its activities to improve digital participation in Glasgow.
• If the innovative approach being adopted by Glasgow Housing Association in offering free broadband connectivity to all of its tenants is successful then consideration should be given to how a similar offer could be made to other citizens in the city for whom cost is a major barrier to broadband access.
For other areas
• Other areas in the UK where there is a low level of broadband take-up should consider whether the research model developed for this report could be used or adapted to help improve nderstanding of the reasons for digital exclusion in their area.
• Other areas where there is currently a low level of digital participation should monitor the approach adopted by Glasgow to tackling this issue, and consider what learning they might draw from this for their own area.
For the full report see here.