Written by
Farah Elahi

Our 2020 Cumberland Lodge Report, Digital Inclusion: Bridging Divides, explores the UK's persistent 'digital divide' and how society is increasingly shaped by new forms of inequality, involving digital inclusion and exclusion.

It focuses on innovative ways of promoting high-quality digital education and participation, and addressing persistent digital divides, to support greater inclusion and opportunity for everyone in the UK.

 

Content

 

This report marks the culmination of many months of research and dialogue, drawing on the collective experience of frontline community workers, policymakers and senior civil servants, academics and researchers from a wide range of fields, private-sector representatives, and students and young people, from across the UK.

The briefing document which forms Part I of the report was published before the known outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK. It has since been updated and offers useful background to the ideas and recommendations that follow in Part II.

The report's author is our freelance Research Associate, Farah Elahi, a part-time Research Programme Manager for Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, and a part-time, final-year Doctoral Researcher in Health Sciences at the University of Warwick.

Download

A digital copy of the report can be downloaded in pdf format from this webpage.

Recommendations from this report are also discussed in our August 2020 webinar on 'COVID-19 and the Digital Divide'.

Recommendations

  • Develop a society-wide commitment to a future digital society and further digital innovation.
  • Adopt a 'co-design' process to integrating technologies into everyday routines, taking into consideration user differences.
  • Help to reduce digital inequalities by investing in greater digital literacy.
  • Focus digital innovation policy on 'micro-actions' that are tailored to specific circumstances, rather than pursuing a 'one-size-fits-all' approach.
  • Facilitate a 'digital resilience' shift in education and other provisions, so that parents and teachers are better equipped to support resilience-building amongst young people.
  • Investigate opportunities for online voting and harnessing digital technologies to increase political participation.
  • Incorporate verification methods and safeguards into online voting, to enhance security and safety, and to help allay concerns about data protection, fraud and anonymity, whilst maintaining accessibility.
  • Make arts and culture sector websites and online content more accessible, to help reduce inequalities in access.
  • Focus more attention on improving data transparency, to address concerns about digital rights and privacy.
  • Preserve physical access to information, services and resources, whilst continuing to develop accessible digital technologies.
  • Create appropriate frameworks for responsible digital governance and e-citizenship.
  • Implement both 'top-down' and 'bottom-up', formal and informal interventions, to support greater digital literacy and responsible citizenship.
  • Carry out further cross-sector research into the complexities and intersectionality of digital exclusion and inclusion, to help inform effective responses.
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