19th October 2015
PRESS RELEASE, 19th October 2015: Go ON UK, the digital skills charity chaired by Martha Lane Fox, today unveiled its ground-breaking mapping tool the Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap developed in conjunction with the BBC, the Local Government Association and the London School of Economics and Political Science to help ensure everyone in the UK has the Basic Digital Skills they need.
For the first time, the Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap will display a measure of digital exclusion at a local level, providing policy-makers and those working in the digital skills and inclusion sector with the insight to help drive engagement, action and funding where it is most needed.
The Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap shows huge variation across the country, varying from areas of high likelihood of exclusion such as Conwy, Wales to areas with very low likelihood of exclusion such as Peterborough.
The Heatmap uses data from the new Basic Digital Skills report produced in association with Lloyds Banking Group. Key findings include:
Rachel Neaman, Go ON UK CEO said: “The UK is experiencing a digital skills crisis. 12.6 million adults, 1.2 million small businesses, and over half of all charities lack the Basic Digital Skills needed to succeed in today’s digital age. Digital competency is an essential skill for everyone and we believe that - without urgent action - the nation’s lack of Basic Digital Skills will continue to hold back economic growth, productivity and social mobility”.
“This is the first time digital exclusion has been measured using the new definition of Basic Digital Skills, introduced in early 2015. Go ON UK has developed its new mapping tool, not only to support those working in the digital skills and inclusion sector, but to provide the data to highlight the scope and local variance of this issue, and make the case for the social and economic importance of universal Basic Digital Skills”.
Ellen Helsper, Associate Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, who developed the methodology behind the map, said: “The Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap is a wake-up call. It shows clearly how social and digital exclusion are closely related. The lack of Basic Digital Skills and access in already disadvantaged areas is likely to lead to an increase in inequality of opportunity around the UK”.
Miguel-Angel Rodriguez-Sola, Group Director Digital, Lloyds Banking Group, said: “With almost a quarter of people unable to perform Basic Digital Skills, the Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap provides invaluable insight into the challenges and opportunities local communities face as a result of their levels of basic digital skills”.
“Within the Group we currently have over 8,000 Digital Champions helping people and organisations use the internet to improve digital skills and financial capability, with a commitment to increase this to 20,000 by 2017 as part of our Helping Britain Prosper Plan. By using the insight the Heatmap provides we can further align this help in the areas where it is needed most, empowering local communities and organisations to unlock the many benefits that digital skills can deliver”.
Eileen Naughton, Manager Director, Google UK and Ireland, said: “Making the most of digital is good for businesses, charities and local communities, but developing the right skills and staying on top the latest technology isn't always easy. Through our Digital Garage programme, Google are helping organisations across the UK access the training they need. We're pleased to support Go ON Local Beta's introduction of its community tool kit, which will help individuals make the first steps towards becoming digitally savvy and more productive.”
Today, Go ON UK also launches Go ON Local Beta - an online community toolkit and collaborative platform designed to build on the successful Go ON UK North West, North East and NI programmes. Go ON Local has been developed, in association with Google, to offer every organisation, local council, housing association and skills training provider (amongst others) online access to essential resources and to provide a platform for people to connect, share and promote best practice.
Neaman continues: “Where the Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap helps us identify the issues we face at a local level, Go ON Local Beta has been designed to support organisations that run digital skills activities for their communities to address those issues”.
“The new Basic Digital Skills report clearly showcases a shift in digital skills adoption in the North East and North West; regions where Go ON UK has helped support local efforts. We have learnt from our sustained activity in the regions, and understand that working in partnership, whilst sharing knowledge and resources is key to helping us ensure everyone in the UK has the Basic Digital Skills they need”.
Go ON Local Beta will provide an online hub for those organisations to plan their programmes, promote and run initiatives, and evaluate and share their successes with the Go ON Local community and wider audiences”, concludes Neaman.
 According to the findings of the latest Lloyds Bank Business Digital Index, which measures the use of, and attitudes towards, digital technology among businesses and charities across different sizes, sectors and regions. The Index is based on 2,000 in-depth questionnaire-led surveys and gives a ‘benchmark’ score where 100 is the average; anything above 100 means that the organisation is more digitally able.
 Go ON UK revised their skills definition for basic digital competency in January 2015. We moved from the previous categories of Basic Online Skills to a new definition of Basic Digital Skills. This updated definition introduced a new ‘problem solving’ category, and refreshed many of the tasks required for the other basic skills.
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