Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway (TSDG) is committed to a programme of support in the third sector which will reduce the negative impacts of digital exclusion in vulnerable groups in Dumfries and Galloway.
“Digital excluded people have limited or no access to digital tech and the internet, leading to lower skills and confidence. Being digitally excluded can lead to social exclusion and impact on social and economic problems.”Charity Digital – Topics – What does digital exclusion mean for the charity sector?
TSDG led a digital exclusion research project, the purpose of which was to investigate the extent of digital exclusion in Dumfries and Galloway and the reasons for this. This was the first time primary research was conducted into digital exclusion in rural Scotland so the results are of national, as well as regional significance.
Digital exclusion was defined as a lack of:
- Access to a device or broadband or the means to pay for either
- Motivation to access the internet
- Skills to access the internet
You can access the full and summary reports at:
The findings were more nuanced, precise and useful to the region compared to previous studies.
- Covid has changed the nature of the challenge – digital exclusion still exists but not in the shape and places we might have thought.
- Only 6.3% of the respondents had no access to the internet
- Only 1.2% of respondents requested additional skills training / advice.
- Motivation to use the internet remains a significant issue
- More than 1/3 of people across all group prefer not to use online transactions and highly value other approaches such as face to face.
- 18.4% of respondents have knowledge but no desire to use the internet for transactions.
During the Covid pandemic, TSDG was invited to lead on several digital exclusion projects. TSDG identified key gaps in basic information about digital exclusion and in 2020 commissioned desk research to investigate the extent of digital exclusion in Dumfries and Galloway. This research used national and Scottish evidence, to which a population ratio was applied to estimate data for Dumfries and Galloway.
A key finding was that there was no primary research about digital exclusion for Dumfries and Galloway and the data in the 2020 report required to be tested in a primary context. It also found there was no lead agency with a statutory or strategic responsibility for digital inclusion.
The research also found that potentially up to 30% of the population in D&G are digitally excluded by lack of access, skills or motivations and that those most likely to be digitally excluded were also likely to be disadvantaged in other ways such as age, disability or poverty.
In March 2021 the Scottish Government launched a strategy setting out the measures to ensure that Scotland fulfils its potential in a constantly evolving digital world.
The project involved an experienced project team working together with representative Third Sector Organisations and Public Sector Organisations to undertake a comprehensive study of digital exclusion within service user groups in Dumfries and Galloway.
A Project Reference Group (including TSO and SCVO representatives) advised and gave assurance to the project management team through providing safe access to vulnerable individuals, facilitating the capture of meaningful data on digital exclusion in vulnerable groups and helped interpret the information and data captured.
Thirty-eight third sector and public sector organisations conducted data gathering for the project and we received responses from 898 participants across the region, from age ranges 16 to 80+, across all income groups.
The project team was:
The team worked with IRISS – Institute for Research and Innovation into Social Services – throughout the project to ensure validity and integrity.
The first engagement / reporting event was held on 22 June 2022 in the Dumfries Baptist Church Centre. Key public sector partners including the NHS, Dumfries and Galloway Council, SOSE, Dumfries and Galloway College, Scottish Funding Council, SDS, DWP, Fire Scotland, Police Scotland and Loreburn Housing were represented.
- was an opportunity to share some initial findings
- created the opportunity for key policy makers to start thinking about the implications of the research.
- enabled strategic thinking about the possibilities of joint working to reduce digital exclusion
The slides from this engagement event are available here.
The project report was launched on Tuesday September 27 2022 in the Dumfries Baptist Church Centre. The event included a number of key partners from Dumfries and Galloway and nationally.
The slides from the launch event are available here.
This project focuses on the third sector in Dumfries and Galloway and worked with partners to ensure that the third sector was represented on other digital developments and strategies within the region: