Digital Inclusion

Introduction to the Digital Inclusion Work Sector

The digital world has evolved exponentially and digital technology continues to provide huge benefits to citizens across all the British-Irish Council (BIC) Member Administrations. These range from making access to government services easier, quicker and cheaper to administer, to applying for jobs and booking your own travel. The opportunities are limitless.

In addition, some of the challenges have evolved with time, such as ensuring individuals can confidently and safely go online, and removing the barriers which prevent people taking their first step online, including issues of accessibility, digital skills, and motivation. 

Lead Administration

At the twelfth BIC Summit in Cardiff in February 2009, the Council agreed that the Isle of Man Government should take the lead on the Digital Inclusion work sector.

Current Focus

Be Safe – Be Included – Be Connected

The BIC Digital Inclusion work sector supported Safer Internet Day 2020, check out their top tips to Be Safe Online as well as helpful information about keeping safe online relevant to your administration on the Be Safe Infographic page. Two further infographics will be launched ahead of their Ministerial meeting in Spring 2021; Be Included and Be Connected. Keep an eye out on our Twitter for updates on these.

In 2018 the work sector looked at the issues of digital safety, particularly in respect of young people online and the 5Rights campaign. All of the eight BIC administrations attended a 5Rights event in Scotland, bringing young people together from across the jurisdictions to discuss their digital rights and you can see a short film about their engagement on 5Rights promotion here:

Subsequently, the work sector presented a Ministerial discussion paper to Digital Ministers at the Isle of Man Summit in November 2018, and their discussions focussed on collaboration around digital skills partnerships across the administrations on the 5Rights of the Child in relation to digital safety. They also discussed future challenges and identified priority issues in relation to online safety for the Digital Inclusion work sector including digital rights, digital skills & literacy and partnership working between the Member Administrations.

On this basis, the work sector met in a number of the BIC administrations throughout 2019 and early 2020 to progress their work plan, discuss the latest developments in online safety and share best practice. During each meeting, they also attended a number of site visits and presentations to hear directly from organisations leading in the provision of digital skills training and programmes.

Further Information

In 2017, Ministers discussed and reviewed a paper, ‘Digital Inclusion: Developing Digital Skills’, prepared by the work sector: Digital Inclusion: Developing Digital Skills

Ministers agreed that the key themes of ‘People, Partnership and Policies’ should continue to inform the work of the Digital Inclusion work sector.  In particular, the group would focus on collaboration on digital skills and consider how best to engage with large organisations on a cross jurisdictional basis.

Further information may be obtained from each administration. The following is not exhaustive but may prove useful for further reading:

1.         Northern Ireland

2.         UK Government

3.         Ireland

4.         Scotland

5.         Wales

6.         Jersey

7.         Guernsey

8.         Isle of Man

Communiqués

Ministerial Meeting - 23rd June 2017