SBC & The Art of Communication; digits, dipping, ducking & diving into the changes & challenges of the technology highway, that is the WWW and internet access for all.
The Importance of Digits "Expectations are growing on people to access information and services online and that in turn is increasing the pressure on large sections of society which don’t possess digital skills. As things stand, many vulnerable people are at risk of becoming excluded from the very services they need, as well as the online choices that could bring real benefits, socially and economically"
In 2013 Scarborough Council entered into a Digital Inclusion Partnership, Chaired by Cllr Donohue-Moncrieff the Digital Inclusion Partnership (DIP) Action Plan for 2015-2017, as explained.
With Govt. support Digital Inclusion statistics show that 18-21% of the UK's population cannot use the internet. Trickled down to a local level; "A recent survey conducted by Yorkshire Coast Homes in 2012 revealed that 56% of their customers have no internet access. Furthermore, the 2013 research document written by North Yorkshire CAB revealed that across North Yorkshire, two thirds of residents over the age of 65 do not use the internet and according to CAB in 2013, a shocking 25% of under 65s still for whatever reason do not use the internet."
UK Stats extrapolated - Excluded: 37% of social housing tenants, 17% of lower paid, 33% of registered disabled, 53% aged 65+, 69% aged 55+, 6% aged 15-24 with 73% of those digitally excluded not in full time employment.
North Yorkshire Stats : 50% of disabled people, 37% surveyed by CAB do not have an email adress and a staggering 80% needed 'professional' help in completing the online 'lettings process' (housing).
Alongside HMRC, Benefits, Universal Credits, CSA, etc demanding digital applications, Jobcentre plus demanding digital applications the stats for Digital Exclusion appear staggering, yet convincing.
Whilst the 'SWITCH' programme intends to drive people on-line they also recognise that the drive for digital inclusion is decelerating : "Around 7% of these have internet access but cannot use it. Currently, the number of people who have never been online is decreasing by about 3% per year. However, having been online does not mean people are digitally capable. The number of people who do not have basic digital capabilities is decreasing at a slower rate of about 1% per year"
Dipping : It should be noted that "public services are responding to the Government agenda and working towards the £1.8 billion per annum in that it is predicted will be saved from the public purse."
Except it is no longer a 'public purse', is it?
Clearly any Local Govt 'DIP' is of financial benefit, SBC's examples of digital cost savings, or 'result' can be found here : http://democracy.scarborough.gov.uk/documents/s65993/15287%20Appendix%20...
Ducking: Self-service? Ah, that is the Council's digitally enhanced service in 'helping your self' see here for the inter-face: http://www.scarborough.gov.uk/self-service-quicklinks
SBC has not only considered the cost cuttings but also the social and community needs, dressed up as Well Being Hubs : http://democracy.scarborough.gov.uk/documents/s65989/15287%20Appendix%20... With £50,000 funding made available for five Community Hubs of £10k each, alas this golden gate or opportunity for community groups to participate has now closed, with only two Well Being Hubs being successful 1. The Castle/Old Town & 2. Hunmanby Spring Cafe, both to be come internet bases run by volunteers for their communities. Unfortunately the funding for a Gallows Close 'Community Hub' failed because it was at the "wrong place & wrong time". At the Members Meeting of 21st December is was requested that the funding 'opportunity' be re-opened and extended for future applications. This community pot for volunteer groups to offer peer to peer mentoring was worked in conjuntion with 'CAVCO' ? Coast & Vale Community Organisation? Nope, never heard of them, nor that 'Hub' opportunity? That because it is all inclusive, innit ;-) http://cavca.org.uk/about-cavca/
Ergo "To promote any charitable purposes for the benefit of the public, principally but not exclusively in the local government area of Scarborough Borough and Ryedale District and its environs (hereinafter called the ‘area of benefit’) and in particular, build the capacity of third sector organisations and provide them with the necessary support, information and services to enable them to pursue or contribute to any charitable purpose. And To promote, organize and facilitate co-operation and partnership working between third sector, statutory and other relevant bodies in the achievement of the above purposes within the area of benefit."
Yet another 'self-serving' venture for the Streets ... for some, or indeed many vulnerable members of the public, strategic partnerships, the interlocking of Govt. agencies, Council, Police, Social Services, Ambulance, Health & CCG's is itself, debatable, or from an 'outsiders' view point bait-able. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLiKDlnVKtI&index=4&list=PLoCL7ZWIWKM6YQ...
Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."
Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, " Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"
The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"
Mary Howitt 1804 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boTKLuI7nzM&list=PLoCL7ZWIWKM6YQoPiRDSji...
Diving into the Wonders of the Web, falling prices, about £75 is the price of Chrome Books, Kindle the Big Local & with Blackberry Pie - Wi-fi access can be cheap from as little as £1 or £2 per week. However these are for browsing only ie for users to read and absorb. The mobile telephone networks offer browsing, apps, games, music, etc data data data, but try filling in a form with one. A form that would or could decide if you can afford to eat, heat or seak a roof over your head.
So, whilst SBC is doing it's very best working within a Digital Inclusion Partnership, and is very aware of how exclusive, excluding and isolating not being part of the WWW can be, they are producing in conjunction with Yorkshire Coast Homes a Get On Line Guide to be published in Spring 2016, including motivational & trust issues, this is self-funded btw not from the public purse. So well done them.
Some questions still need to be answered:
Cllr John Ritchie suggests that; The National Agenda needs to understand that the 'Digital Revolution' is built for 'Digitally Native People'. Is this future proof?
Erm "This fly is a major problem for us: It will ruin our batch, and we need to destroy it and every trace of it so we can cook. Failing that, we're dead. There's no more room for error, not with these people." Breaking Bad.
Coventry University Scarborough Campus - Curriculum - http://www.coventry.ac.uk/cusc/
Yorkshire Coast College - http://www.yorkshirecoastcollege.ac.uk/16-18-course-areas.php