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UK's first Digital Exclusion Heatmap launched

Go ON UK Digital Exclusion Heatmap A new online mapping tool which shows, for the first time, a single nationwide measure of the likelihood of digital exclusion across the UK was launched today with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

The Heatmap of Digital Exclusion, produced by the digital skills charity Go ON UK and developed with LSE, the BBC and Local Government Association, will display a measure of digital exclusion in each local authority and link it to the area’s level of social exclusion.

This breakthrough tool has been designed to provide policy-makers and those working in the digital skills and inclusion sector with the insight to drive engagement, action and funding where it is most needed.

The map uses known indicators of exclusion such as age, gender, broadband coverage and an estimated level of Basic Digital Skills.  Go ON UK estimate 23 per cent across the UK do not have the five Basic Digital Skills needed to succeed in the digital age. These skills include managing information online, communicating, mastering online transactions, problem solving and creating content.

Part of the motivation behind creating this map is to understand which areas are falling behind and help ensure everyone in the UK has these basic skills.

The Heatmap of Digital Exclusion uses data from Go ON UK’s new Basic Digital Skills report in association with Lloyds Banking Group. Key findings include:

  • Highest levels of Basic Digital Skills are found in Greater London (84%), Scotland and East Anglia (both 81%)
  • Wales, where internet access is at its lowest, shows the lowest levels with only 62% of adults having the five Basic Digital Skills they need
  • In addition, the report finds  men (80%) are more likely than women (74%) to be competent across each of the five Basic Digital Skills

Dr Ellen Helsper, Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, who developed the methodology behind the map, said:

“The heat map is a wake-up call. It shows clearly how social and digital exclusion are closely related. The lack of basic digital skills and access in already disadvantaged areas is likely to lead to an increase in inequality of opportunity around the UK.”

As part of her ongoing research and engagement, Dr Helsper continues to develop tools to help organisations and governments around the world evaluate and improve programmes designed to tackle digital inequalities in order to reduce social exclusion.

For more information on Dr Ellen Helsper’s work on digital exclusion and internet use please visit: http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/From-digital-skills-to-tangible-outcomes.aspx  

In support of the Heatmap of Digital Exclusion Go ON UK has launched Go ON Local Beta – an online community toolkit and collaborative platform – to help policy-makers, organisations and communities tackle digital exclusion in their local area


Media contacts: 

Go ON UK Media Office: Tara Maynard; e.tara@go-on.co.uk m. 07791 091 909 or Matt Mitchell e. matt@go-on.co.uk m. 07791 016149

LSE media office: pressoffice@lse.ac.uk; 020 7955 7060


Go ON UK is the leading digital skills charity which argues the powerful social and economic case for universal Basic Digital Skills. Established by Baroness Lane-Fox in 2012, Go ON UK has the chief executives of ten major organisations around its boardroom table – Age UK, Argos, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, E.ON, EE, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office, Sage Group and TalkTalk. Working with its partners, Go ON UK’s vision is for everyone to have the Basic Digital Skills they need.

Basic Digital Skills are the skills needed to enjoy a wide range of online benefits. Through working with leading experts, Go ON UK has defined these skills, and examples of the activities that they enable. These include the ability to complete tasks such as communicating, finding the right information, or carrying out a transaction safely online

The Exclusion in a Digital UK Heatmap is a ground-breaking mapping tool developed by Go ON UK to help policy-makers and local organisations ensure everyone in the UK has the Basic Digital Skills they need. It is the first time a single {nationwide} measure for digital exclusion that combines known indicators of levels and types of digital exclusion has been achieved.

19 October 2015