Digital exclusion (the inability to access online products or services or to use simple forms of digital technology (such as smart phones and tablets)) can contribute to loneliness and social isolation as well as making it difficult to access information and services and secure employment. In 2014, the government estimated that the number of people who have never been online is decreasing at three per cent a year, but the proportion of people who do not have basic digital capabilities has only been decreasing at about one per cent of the adult population per year.
In 2017 The Tech Partnership used a range of indicators to produce a 'heatmap' in which Herefordshire was rated ‘high’ for likelihood of overall digital exclusion.
One measure of digital exclusion comes from the Labour Force survey, which estimates that in the first quarter of 2018, 93 per cent of people aged 16 and over in Herefordshire had used the internet in the last three months; not significantly different from the UK as a whole, or the West Midlands region. Since 2012 this figure has risen from 73 per cent.
More research is needed to identify digitally excluded households to support those who wish to learn digital skills, and to assess the impact of digital exclusion on access to services.
It is forecast that 90 per cent of all jobs will soon require some form of digital capability and the UK faces a major shortage of digital skills at all levels. Common causes of digital exclusion are:
In Herefordshire, Fastershire is undertaking a variety of digital inclusion activities through the Faster Communities initiative. This offers:
In July 2018 similar training was provided for voluntary/charity sector organisations in partnership with HVOSS.
 The role of digital exclusion in social exclusion, Martin, C., Hope, S. and Zubairi, S., Ipsos MORI Scotland, 2016. Available at: https://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/publications/role-digital-exclusion-social-exclusion-2/
 Government Digital Inclusion Strategy, Cabinet Office, 2014. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-digital-inclusion-strategy/government-digital-inclusion-strategy
 Statistical Bulletin: Internet Users, Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2018. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/bulletins/internetusers/2018
 Internet Users, ONS, 2018. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/datasets/internetusers
 Digital exclusion. The Tech Partnership, Available at: https://www.thetechpartnership.com/basic-digital-skills/digital-exclusion/
Last updated: Tuesday, August 28, 2018