Types of Digital Exclusion
- What has been done to date in Darlington to address the issue
- Any gaps in provision identified
- Potential interventions to be considered
Not everyone can go online, for example because they live in an area with poor connectivity or cannot afford Wi-Fi or data. Data suggests that of non-internet users, 36% of users are excluded due to the cost. Similarly, a third (32%) of all smartphone users said that when they go online to complete tasks, they do this as quickly as possible to avoid using up too much data.
What has been done so far?
- The council has installed Wi-Fi in the Town Centre and in several public buildings, such as the libraries, Dolphin Centre, Hippodrome and Town Hall. There is also free Wi-Fi in sheltered living accommodation shared spaces and on Arriva buses.
- Work been undertaken to ensure the council website does not use up too much of users’ data.
- Devices loaned from the library in the ‘Let’s Do Digital’ scheme
What’s been done so far?
- Public desktop computers are available in libraries and the customer contact centre however:
- contact centre computers are specifically for accessing council services
- library computers can only be used for free for a limited time period
- 230 laptops were delivered to disadvantaged school pupils who met various criteria throughout the pandemic
- The Lifeline service has purchased 5 devices for each sheltered housing scheme for residents to borrow
- The Let’s Do Digital ran a scheme with 10 iPads for people to borrow from the library for 6 weeks
- Donated devices have been refurbished and given to:
- 5 phones were donated to care leavers
- 4 laptops to people who have been through the device borrowing scheme
- 1 iPad to a person who completed the borrowing scheme
- 24 laptops were given to Coder Dojo to improve digital skills for young people
- 6 laptops have been given to learners via Learning and Skills
- handling information and content
- problem solving
- being safe and legal online
‘Narrow’ internet users are defined as those who had ever undertaken between one and four of the 13 online activities we asked about. This accounted for 29% of internet users.
‘Medium’ internet users had ever undertaken 5-8 activities, and this accounted for 40% of internet users.
‘Broad’ internet users had ever undertaken 9-13 of the activities, and this accounted for 28% of internet users.
What’s been done so far?
- DBC Learning and Skills service offer free ICT courses for residents aged 19+ who have lived in the UK for three years. Current courses are online safety, Intro to Microsoft Office and Intro to Social Media Marketing.
- Training has been provided to all sheltered living accommodation scheme managers to support residents with digital support.
- The DBC Routes to Work scheme supports clients (including support with digital skills if required) excluded from the job market, aged 30+ and meeting certain benefits-related criteria.
- Step Forward Tees Valley offers training in digital skills for people out of work aged 29+
- Unforgettable Experiences, a new charity operating in Darlington to enhance older people’s life experiences, are recruiting volunteers as Digital Champions.