Digital exclusion is a complex issue. There is no single cause, but a combination of factors contribute to a greater or lesser extent to the risk of exclusion.
The headline numbers of those who lack Basic Digital Skills or have never been online have been tracked for some time. But if we are serious about eradicating digital exclusion we need to better understand the detail behind those numbers and where and why there is an issue.
The Digital Exclusion Heatmap is our response to this challenge.
The Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap shows the likelihood of exclusion from a digital United Kingdom at Local Authority level. It has been developed with support from the BBC as part of their Make It Digital and wider digital literacy initiatives, the Local Government Association and The London School of Economics and Political Science, using fresh insight into Basic Digital Skills in association with Lloyds Banking Group.
Eight different metrics have been used to calculate the overall likelihood of exclusion. Four of these are digital metrics (combined infrastructure, access, Basic Digital Skills and Basic Digital Skills used), which have been aggregated to provide a combined digital indicator. Four are social metrics (age, education, income and health), which have been aggregated to create a combined social indicator.
These combined indicators have been further aggregated using a formula designed by the London School of Economics and Political Science to provide, for the first time, a single measure of predicted overall exclusion from a digital United Kingdom.
The combined digital and social indicators and the single measure of overall exclusion are calculated using a scoring system, with all eight individual metrics given equal weighting.
The combined digital indictor and social indictor are calculated to provide a three-tier output of either low, medium or high likelihood of exclusion. For the combined digital indicator the scores are as follows: low gives a score of zero, medium gives a score of three, and high gives a score of six. For the combined social indicator, the scores are as follows: low gives a score of one, medium gives a score of two, and high gives a score of three.
These scores are then combined as shown in the table below:
Overall scores between one and three give a low likelihood of overall exclusion; a score of four, five or six gives a medium likelihood of overall exclusion; and scores of seven, eight and nine give a high likelihood of overall exclusion.
These nine scores and colour bands are then represented on the map.
Areas with exclusion scores in the highest 80% are considered to have high levels of exclusion; those with scores in the lowest 20% are considered to have low levels of exclusion; those with scores between 20% and 80% of all areas are considered to have medium levels of exclusion.
Each individual metric is scored this way, and the overall indicator level for each area is then calculated from these. More detailed methodology is available at the London School of Economics and Political Science from digital skills to tangible outcomes web page.
The heatmap uses open source data provided by agencies including the Office for National Statistics, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, National Records of Scotland, Ofcom and HM Revenue and Customs (see below). The map also uses research carried out by Ipsos MORI for Go ON UK. The data for each metric is shown at Local Authority level on the map. When the data used is only available at a higher geographical level (such as NUTS 3), we have applied the same data to all the Local Authorities within that area and noted the relevant geography in the metric information panel on the map.
As described above, the methodology for the combined indicators uses a system of calculations and scoring that provides an easy-to-understand three-tier likelihood of low, medium or high exclusion. For the individual metrics, a larger quintile system with five ranges is used to give more detail.
For Basic Digital Skills and Basic Digital Skills Used, the methodology for the combined digital indicator uses a scoring system based on the eleven questions asked in the survey (two questions each for communicating, transacting, problem-solving and creating, and three for managing information). The heatmap shows the percentage of adults that have all five Basic Digital Skills, or have used all five Basic Digital Skills, in the last three months.
The individual areas on the map all show the actual overall score from one to nine as described in the table above.
The data on Basic Digital Skills was collected by Ipsos MORI for Go ON UK in association with Lloyds Banking Group. Ipsos MORI conducted 4,167 in-home face-to-face interviews with adults aged 15+ using their weekly CAPIBUS. CAPIBUS uses a rigorous approach to sampling based on Output Areas which provides a nationally representative view of the UK. Interviewing was conducted for a two-week period across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Each respondent was allocated an Output Area Classification (OAC) based on their postcode. The level of digital capability for each OAC was calculated based on the Basic Digital Skills questions ‘skills could do if asked’ and ‘skills done in last 3 months’.
The CAPIBUS sampling covers a number of Output Areas to ensure a representative view of the UK. In order to estimate the level of digital capability across all Local Authorities in the UK, the OAC profile of each Local Authority was used to proportionally allocate the digital capability scores seen for each OAC and thus provide an overall score for that Local Authority.
Doteveryone uses the following data sources for the Digital Exclusion Heatmap metrics:
Combined infrastructure - Broadband 10Mbps: Fixed broadband performance, Office of Communications
Combined infrastructure - 4G mobile data: Mobile broadband performance, Office of Communications
Infrastructure - Broadband 2Mbps: Fixed broadband performance, Office of Communications
Basic Digital Skills: Go ON UK Basic Digital Skills UK Report 2015 - PDF
Basic Digital Skills used: Go ON UK Basic Digital Skills UK Report 2015 - PDF
Doteveryone's principal partners are: