GDS Launches Digital Inclusion Outcomes Framework

Jul 15, 2015

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has launched what it calls a Digital Inclusion Outcomes Framework in a bid to track how digitally inclusive the UK is becoming.  

The framework is intended as a single, flexible template that will also evaluate activities local as well as tracking inclusion progress across the country.  

Those who choose to use the framework will be able to demonstrate how their digital inclusion activities contribute to local priorities and needs.  

GDS hopes this will make the case for investment and partnerships, as well as driving improvement by identifying what works in delivering better outcomes.  

It is also the first time the government has been able to offer a method of tracking the progress the UK is making as a society in increasing levels of digital inclusion.  

"Digital inclusion is increasingly important to enable all citizens to participate actively in society and to access digital services, products and networks," claimed Laura Kahn, head of strategy in the GDS digital inclusion team.  

"However, one in five adults in the UK remain offline or lack the basic digital skills needed to realise the benefits online," added Kahn, who is managing the cross-sector research working group which has led the Framework's development.  

It is for these reasons that GDS feels the development of a Framework to track progress in investment in the digitally excluded is needed.  

"Organisations across the UK are delivering a diverse range of digital inclusion activities that are responsive to local needs," Kahn claimed.  

"However, this diversity often leads to inconsistency in how progress is evaluated, making it hard to compare and share learning meaningfully," she added.  

True Measurement Of Digital Inclusion  

There are three elements to framework: outcomes, which measures how digital technology can improve peoples' lives, indicators, where progress towards these benefits is tracked and data, which is all about sources of evidence that digital inclusion has a positive impact on people's lives and how this can be achieved.  

The framework will consist of an online digital inclusion dashboard for visualisation of progress towards outcomes and a step-by-step evaluation toolkit to help local projects track their progress.  

"In the long-run, use of comparable and impact-based metrics across projects will make it easier to share learning and best practice, and build towards a shared evidence base that actually works," said Kahn. 

"For the first time we'll be able to track comprehensively and robustly the progress we are making as a society in achieving digital inclusion," she added.  



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