17 July 2009

Can Martha-Lane Fox bring digital inclusion?

Deeply sceptical article on BBC's technology pages on the task Martha Lane-Fox faces in her new role as Digital Champion. Reporter, Jane Wakefield, thinks that ML-F's £300m budget may not make much impact on the problem of digital inclusion. She quotes some interesting statistics: 17 million Britons have never been on line; 80% of government transactions are 'done with the bottom 25% of society'; Citizen's Online claims to have 'converted' 80,000 (self-selecting) people to use of on-line services for a cost of £50 per head.

Some service providers, presumably impatient for the efficiency of on-line delivery, have opted for stick rather than carrot: Coventry City Council has put applications and bidding for social housing purely online. That seems to be asking for an accessibility challenge.

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