A Digital Inclusion Taskforce for Bristol City Council

Written by Catherine Makin on 12 Nov, 20
Focus on city challenges Responsible innovation

The City Innovation Team have convened a Digital Inclusion Taskforce to bring together operational colleagues across Bristol City Council to coordinate and amplify our efforts to tackle the digital divide in our city.

The digital divide is a persistent social issue and one that exists in Bristol where;

  • Internet access at home is 6% lower in deprived areas
  • 18% of people are uncomfortable using digital services
  • 58% are of people are uncomfortable using smart technologies.
    (Statistics from Quality of Life Survey 2019)

Digital exclusion tends to accompany other types of financial and social exclusion, creating a compounding effect and entrenching existing inequalities.

The COVID-19 lockdown has brought issues of inequality in digital access (devices, services and connectivity), skills and infrastructure into sharp focus, with the internet providing a lifeline for individuals to access services, purchase essential supplies, and stay connected with loved ones and support networks. Internet access in the home is increasingly considered a fourth utility.

The Taskforce will meet for the first time in November 2020.

In convening this group the City Innovation Team are responding to an opportunity to support colleagues across the council to work towards creating a coordinated programme to tackle the city’s digital divide. With a focus on new and emerging technologies, the City Innovation Team’s work on digital inclusion and Responsible Innovation is concerned with how we navigate the wider ethical, societal and regulatory challenges of smart cities and ensure the technological choices made now align with Bristol’s future vision.

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