Being digitally capable can make a significant difference to individuals, through being able to cut household bills, find a job, or maintain contact with distant friends and relatives. It can also provide broader benefits, by helping to address wider social and economic issues like reducing isolation and supporting economic growth.
Where we are now
We have taken steps in the last year to improve our accessibility and be more inclusive:
- Our new website uses Browsealoud to assist visitors with visual impairments, reading difficulties or English as a second language
- We ensure that new web design meets AA accessibility standards
- We have re-written all our web pages to make them shorter, more to the point and using plain English
However, our SOCITM Better Connected survey rating for accessibility shows we need to improve further.
While regional statistics present a positive picture of digital inclusion in Oxford, we know from our customer insight work that a significant number are either not ready or not able to move to using digital services over other channels. Within our own workforce there are differing levels of digital skills.
The Government’s Digital Inclusion Strategy sets out the four main challenges people face as being: access, skills, motivation and trust.
How we need to change
To make sure the web is truly for everyone, we need to focus on more than just online access; we need to equip our residents with the skills, motivation and trust to go online, to be digitally capable and to make the most of the benefits the internet brings.
- Provide online access points at our front-of-house contact centres
- Encourage more people to try digital services by providing friendly advice and assistance to customers
- Ensure we provide support for those people who can’t use online services on their own
- Commit to improving the digital skills of our own staff
- Move all our websites to using secure protocols to provide a safer and more private browsing experience for our customers
- Ensure we design for accessibility, making our digital services easy to use first time to give customers greater confidence
- Work towards a four-star accessibility rating for Better Connected
- Oxford has a low likelihood of overall digital exclusion with only 5.9% of adults in Oxfordshire never having been online
- 69.96% of households in Oxfordshire do not receive 4G mobile data from all providers
- 84% of adults in Oxfordshire have all five Basic Digital Skills, but only 45% have used all five in the last three months.
- Nationally, 80% of government interactions are with the bottom 25% of income earners, who are less likely to be online
- 10% of our callers state they had online access issues