The role of councils in tackling digital exclusion

Recognising that digital exclusion remains an important issue for many local communities and in the delivery of council services, the Local Government Association commissioned DMS Research and Consulting to explore the links between various types of disadvantage and the availability and usage of digital infrastructure, and to consider the role of councils in tackling digital exclusion.

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The research itself comprised of two parts. First, the Ofcom Connected Nations datasets for coverage (fixed broadband and mobile) and for performance (fixed broadband) were combined with several socio-economic datasets to explore the correlations between thousands of pairs of connectivity and socio-economic variables and how connectivity has changed over time.

Following this a series of consultations were conducted with a range of organisations including the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), Building Digital UK (BDUK), the Digital Connectivity Forum, Good Things Foundation, Bolsover District Council, Devon County Council, Gloucestershire County Council, Leeds City Council, Norfolk County Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. The discussions explored the role that councils can play in tackling digital exclusion and how central government could better support and leverage councils in this. 

Drawing on the study’s findings from the quantitative analysis of the links between digital infrastructure and disadvantage and the qualitative findings from consultations, the following recommendations for the Government, for the LGA and for councils have been developed:

For the UK Government:

 For the LGA:

For councils: