Sally Dyson, Head of Digital and Development at SCVO
 19th Feb 2018

We’re delighted that Citizens Advice Scotland recently repeated their research which digs a bit deeper into the headline digital exclusion figures. Their research was based on surveying more than 1,200 people seeking advice with more than half of the 61 CABx participating.

I’ve pulled out a few of the key statistics and highlighted them below:

    • One third of respondents either had difficulty using a computer (18%) or simply cannot use one at all (16%) with almost one in every five respondents never using the internet (18%)
    • One in every five respondents who accessed the internet only did so using a smartphone (20%)
    • Respondents seeking advice on benefits matters were some of the least frequent users of the internet, with 31% of those seeking benefit advice reporting they either hardly ever (12%) or never (19%) used the internet
    • More than one in four respondents with email accounts only checked their emails either monthly (6%) or very rarely (23%)
  • Half of all respondents could not attach and send documents by email independently (50%)
  • Only one quarter of respondents seeking benefits advice could apply online for a benefit with no problems at all (25%), with almost two thirds either needing help (32%), or not able to manage at all (32%)
  • Almost half of all respondents could not scan documents privately to provide supporting evidence for online claims (46%), with a further 16% requiring help to do so. Key findings:
  • Forty five percent of respondents would take advantage of free training to improve their digital skills; a further one-quarter (25%) were not sure if they would, and 30% did not want to receive training to improve their digital skills
  • The respondents who were the least proficient users of computers were generally the least willing to take advantage of free training to improve their digital skills:
  • Only 22% of people who cannot use a computer at all would take advantage of training opportunities. Almost half (49%) would not take part in free training Not exactly inspiring reading for any morning.

So, what are we collectively going to do to help make Scotland a fairer society for everyone?

We know that those who are not online are more likely to take their first tentative steps when supported by trusted people in local places. Through leading Scotland's Digital Participation Charter, supporting projects which embed skills development in their regular activity and developing digital champions in a wide range of organisations SCVO is looking to make sure those trusted people in local places are trained, supported and visible.

If you feel that you can help in any way to support digital inclusion get in touch with us digital@scvo.scot .

I hope CAS carries out this research again in two years, I hope even more that there’s a positive movement towards people having the skills to use the internet when necessary.