- Today, 78% of UK adult population have the Basic Online Skills to use the internet regularly for themselves, leaving 11 million people who still can’t send and receive email, use a search
A national commitment to get everyone online by 2020 would cost an annual investment of £146 million over a 6-year period if spread across the private, public and voluntary sectors – according to a new report launched today.
It’s the first estimate of the investment needed to create a 100% digitally skilled nation – where there are still 11 million people without the Basic Online Skills.
The report - A Leading Digital Nation by 2020 - uses information on the profile of the 11 million and current interventions to get people online, factoring in the barriers, challenges and costs to up-skill the hardest to reach groups which includes 2 million people of working age and 4 million retired citizens.
Creating a 100% digitally skilled nation is a vision which has gained momentum since policy makers and business forecasters started counting the cost of digital exclusion in billions. In terms of lost revenue for UK PLC, potential savings for Government, and missed opportunities for citizens these include:
- £108 million estimated annual savings for the NHS if just 1% of their face-to-face visits were converted to NHS Choices visits
- £1.7 billion - Government Digital Service estimate of potential savings per annum of digital by default public services
- £560 potential saving per household if a family shops and pays bills online
- £63 billion - Booz & Co report estimated economic benefit if UK led the world in digitisation
With countries like Norway already achieving internet use-age rates of 98%, the suggestion is that we adopt an accelerated approach to reap the benefits of a 100% digitally skilled nation by 2020. The report encourages government and partners in the private and voluntary sectors to act now to share the investment needed to ensure everyone in the UK benefits from what the web has to offer.
Lord Jim Knight of Weymouth is Chair of the Tinder Foundation, which commissioned the report. He said: “The fact is that digital exclusion costs Britain money. Not having the access, motivation or skills to use the internet has a real social and human impact, affecting pay, health, educational attainment and more. In turn, that has an economic impact, and it’s holding Britain back. Over the last five years the evidence has grown to show how a 100% digital nation could make Britain truly Great - saving the government and NHS billions of pounds, boosting the economy and building human capital. The cost of digital inclusion - based on this new model - is a drop in the ocean compared to the potential savings and benefits of investment. So let’s be bold. Let’s work together. And let’s get it done by 2020.”
Graham Walker, CEO of Go ON UK said: “GO ON UK's vision is to bring partners together from all sectors to make the UK the world's most digitally skilled nation. I welcome this report as a contribution to the debate on the investment required from all sectors to achieve our goal. If by 2020, we leave 6.2 million, largely poor and older adults without basic online skills then we will have failed."
"The report suggests that £146 million annual investment will ensure everyone in the UK has basic online skills by 2020. The government alone spends more that £4 billion annually on adult skills and training. We are asking the government and organisations in all sectors to urgently review their current training and skills investments to ensure that the UK reaps the huge social and economic benefits of universal Internet use. "
A Leading Digital Nation by 2020 – Calculating the cost of delivering online skills for all. Report by Catherine Macdonald for the Tinder Foundation & Go ON UK, February 2014.
Notes to Editors
Tinder Foundation is a not-for-profit social enterprise that makes good things happen through digital technology. Established in December 2011 as a staff-owned mutual, Tinder Foundation supports the 5,000 strong network of hyper-local UK online centres, and works with hundreds of national organisations from government departments to charities and large corporations - making sure technology makes more good things happen for more people.
About Go ON UK
Go ON UK is a cross-sector charity which was established in 2012 to encourage and support people, business and charities to enjoy the benefits of being online. Go ON UK has nine chief executives around its boardroom table – Age UK, Argos, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, E.ON, EE, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office and TalkTalk. Together, Go ON UK’s vision is to make the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation.
- Go ON Digital Skills Charter is a set of common beliefs agreed by Go ON UK partners:
- Everyone in the UK should have the Basic Online Skills to enjoy the full benefits of the web.
- Communities that don't yet have the skills to fully enjoy the benefits of the internet should not be left behind.
- Everyone deserves world-class digital services that meet their needs and are useable by all.
- And that every organisation - in the private, public and voluntary sector - has a role to play in building our nation's digital capability.
Basic Online Skills are the basic skills needed to enjoy a wide range of online benefits, including being able to transact online safely. Go ON UK has defined the categories of skill and the activities people need to be able to complete at a basic level which include the ability to send and receive email, use a search engine, browse the internet and complete online forms
About A Leading Digital Nation Research
Catherine McDonald is a qualified chartered accountant and has a degree in Physics and Philosophy from Oxford University. She is now an independent consultant, specialising in digital inclusion. She began her consultancy career at Ernst & Young, has worked for the National Audit Office, and was runner up in the Management Consultancy Association's 'New Consultant of the Year' award in 2007. Catherine is also experienced in public policy delivery, supporting digital service delivery in the last Government, and is currently serving as a councillor and cabinet member at Southwark Council.