Read the Chesterfield's Citizens Advice Report on how local residents have experienced the impact of digital exclusion and inclusion.

From the Executive Summary

"A digital revolution is well underway; bringing both great benefits but also risks for those who are left behind. It is impacting everything from the economy, education, health, and life chances. It is impacting upon people who need the support of Citizens Advice.

The inexorable pace of this change has been accentuated by the challenges of the pandemic; revealing a devastating overlap between digital exclusion and social exclusion, social exclusion and poverty, and then in turn, poverty and health inequalities. If people cannot access vital services and information because they do not have access to online services or services have been designed without regard to people unable to use them, there are severe problems.

We acknowledge digitalisation brings both huge benefits for many but also great disadvantage for some.

Positive effects for those who have it can include:

  • Easy and convenient to use
  • Almost instant support and access to vital services at certain key times
  • Education and job search opportunities
  • Access to consultations, including health, that can be facilitated online by video conferencing

Negative effects for those left behind include:

  • Difficulty accessing vital lifeline welfare systems for financial and other support
  • Missing out because of not getting reliable information at the right time
  • Reduced opportunities for social and economic engagement
  • Widening inequality

The report goes onto to make a series of report recommendations. These focus upon measures that can be taken to retain and build upon the advantages of online services, how we can build skills and make those services affordable and accessible to all. But perhaps most critically, ensuring that services are `fair by design`, that they are accessible for vulnerable people who cannot use digital and that suitable alternative provisions are always in place to meet their needs. In this report, we look at the experiences of local people based on evidence brought to the attention of our advice workers."

Mind the Gap Report