Digital inclusion is an increasingly important issue. As the population of people of people who are off-line has decreased, there has been a grater focus on providing online services (often a less expensive service model). An example of this is the is the government's digital by default' agenda. A decision that public services should be delivered online or by other digital means, was taken following a national research report, which calculated that shifting 30% of government service delivery contracts to digital channels has the potential to deliver gross annual savings of more than £1.3 billion, rising to £2.2 billion if 50% of contracts shifted to digital.
Despite the benefits that the digital by default by agenda may bring for many, there are serious consequences for the minority unable to access the internet. Support organisations have been working hard to consider the impact that online benefits application processes will have on those who are most vulnerable and lack the digital and literacy skills necessary for online application processes. It has been estimated that roughly 89% of uk public services are now run online, yet just 29 per cent of the uk population is using the internet to access them.
go on uk has built a body of evidence to understand the digital skills needed in today's society and in the uk economy. Having Basic Digital skills allows people to:
shop transact and find the best deals online.
communicate with family and friends
access digital public services.
Digital skills are also increasingly important in economic participation. the uk has more online shoppers than any other major country in the world. 67% of uk adults of uk adults now go online.
to research and purchase goods and services, and latest research shows that annual website sales amount to £193 billion.
Digital skills are increasingly important for use in finding employment. in 2009 around four in five jobseekers in great Britain were making use of the internet in job search, with its use being especially prevalent among younger jobseekers and the most highly qualified. Since 2009 this probation is likely to have increased.
Over time it has become increasingly important for people accessing employment to have digital skills. The number of users of computers with internet access in the workplace in the uk increased by 27% between 2004 and 2008. It is estimated that between 75% and 90% of jobs require at least some computer use.
It is challenging and isolating living without the internet, and this is the reality for one in five uk adults.