Councils begin Understanding the Digital Divide project

They are taking part in the Understanding the Digital Divide project, led by Cheshire West and Chester City Council and supported by the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network (CCIN) under its Policy Labs programme.

It involves producing a toolkit, including a guide to existing data, for councils to create a clear baseline of who needs help and where they are, along with tailored recommendations to assess residents’ needs and provide remedies.

A spokesperson for CCIN said the initiative is being led by Cheshire West and Chester Council, with the other local authorities being Barking and Dagenham, Cardiff, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Kirklees, Knowsley, Newcastle, North Hertfordshire, Oxford, Plymouth, Rochdale, Southampton, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Tameside.

The adult learning charity Workers’ Educational Association and management consultancy Red Quadrant are also members of the group.

Elements of the project include resident consultation, improving the understanding of available data, gathering intelligence to inform adult learning, and producing a ‘lessons learnt’ report.

This is based on the view that, while many local authorities regard digital exclusion as a serious issue, they do not see a clear way to deal with it. The project is aimed at providing insights for councils to develop effective and sustainable solutions to support vulnerable residents.

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