Digital Inclusion has been a steady theme throughout the first two years of Advice North Somerset. It is important to recognise that many services are going digital and whilst the majority of residents will be able to cope, there will be some that cannot. We have laid some of the foundations to identify potential digital exclusion and to offer ways of trying to close these gaps.
Advice North Somerset has produced a Digital Mapping report which has been presented to North Somerset Council’s Digital Inclusion Working Group. The aim of the report is to present preliminary research on the IT provision that is available to the residents of North Somerset and a proxy of wards that might be at risk of digital exclusion. The report will be published on the website as soon as it is available.
One of the solutions suggested in the report was to provide IT equipment to organisations that might have clients who need help with going digital. A start has been made by Advice North Somerset’s Go4IT scheme. This was designed to provide IT equipment to organisations whose clients need help with claiming housing benefit or council tax support. A total of eight organisations have been supported by the Go4IT scheme and the types of clients that they support include those with substance misuse issues, disability, visual impairment and those with low levels of literacy. Download the evaluation report.
The second Annual Conference of Advice North Somerset was held in September 2015 and had the theme “Like it or not, the World is Going Online: How do we Meet the Challenge?” Delegates debated many of the issues surrounding digital inclusion and came up with a set of action points which will be used to formulate an Action Plan to take forward. The Conference Report will be available very shortly.