Skip to main content

Digital inclusion for health and social care

Who we can work with

An overview of organisations and functions involved in supporting the digital inclusion agenda including local authorities, voluntary organisations and specialist digital partners.

Jump to content

Local authorities

In some places the local health service has formed a partnership with the local authority to tackle digital exclusion. The local authority may take the lead in delivering digital inclusion in the sustainability and transformation partnership or integrated care system.

Check whether your local authority has a digital inclusion strategy. For example Norwich and Stoke-on-Trent have a digital inclusion strategy and action plan.

Digital Inclusion Strategy – Norwich City Council
Digital Inclusion Strategy – City of Stoke-on-Trent

Public libraries

Your local public library can help local people be digitally included. A core responsibility of every public library is to provide:

  • free to use public access computers
  • staff trained in accessing digital information resources

Almost all public libraries now have free wi-fi access. Many public libraries are Online Centres, providing free digital skills training. Good Things Foundation has produced a practical guide to doing digital inclusion: libraries handbook.

Libraries Connected (The Society of Chief Librarians) has made a commitment to a universal health offer which should be available in public libraries. The Universal Health Offer aims to help people manage their health and wellbeing by signposting to community resources and books including Reading Well self-help reading lists. 

There is also a universal digital offer which aims to ensure that all public libraries offer a basic level of digital service to the public, including free wi-fi and access to computers. Libraries are also working to develop staff so that they have the skills to help customers who do not normally access information and services online.

See how Leeds libraries are working with local partners towards 100% digital Leeds.

Two people in a library, with the woman talking to an older man, and an iPad on the table in front of them
Libraries can be a focal point for inclusive access

NHS libraries and knowledge services

Your local NHS library and knowledge service can support the digital, information and health literacy of the healthcare workforce by signposting to high-quality electronic patient information. NHS knowledge services work in partnership with public libraries and voluntary organisations, ensuring access to inclusive digital resources.

Voluntary organisations

Voluntary organisations are important partners in digital inclusion support. A number of local voluntary organisations are Online Centres.

Age UK has a leading role in the One Digital partnership, working to embed digital champions in local Age UK activities with pilots in Leeds, the Lake District, Lancashire and Hereford and Worcestershire. Age UK has also produced a useful evidence review on digital inclusion and older people

Voluntary organisations have been successful in securing funding from the Digital Inclusion Fund, managed by Citizens Online for Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. New projects are being delivered by Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service, Down’s Syndrome Association, and Weldmar Hospice care Trust.

Online centres

Brought together by the Good Things Foundation, the Online Centres Network is made up of over 5,000 local organisations working to tackle digital exclusion by providing people with the skills and confidence they need to use digital technologies.

Some operate in libraries, community venues, leisure centres or shopping centres, as well as some in more unusual locations like pubs and cafes. Many centres also run outreach sessions, in places like care homes or tenants’ associations.

You can find your local Online Centre and talk to them about support available for local people by using the Online Centre search.

Commercial organisations

In some parts of the country local organisations have developed partnerships with commercial organisations to support digital inclusion.

Barclays logo

Barclays Digital Eagles is a digital champions programme which includes both face-to-face support in branch with bank staff, and online training modules. Digital Eagles have worked with the Patient Online programme and local CCGs to use Tea and Teach sessions to teach patients to book GP appointments online.

Lloyds bank logo

Lloyds Bank has been training its staff as digital champions, and in 2017 entered a strategic partnership with Good Things Foundation to create and fund a network of centres that will support learners to improve their digital and financial literacy skills.

Google Digital Garage logo

Google Digital Garage is a digital skills training programme targeted initially at small and medium sized enterprises rather than individual citizens. However, there are now courses for online beginners in partnership with Good Things Foundation.

Freeformers logo

Freeformers is a digital skills training programme from Facebook enabling 18-30 year olds to develop the confidence and the skills they need for future employment in a digital economy.

Vodafone logo

Vodafone is launching free TechConnect classes during 2019, following its report on harnessing technology to tackle loneliness

Specialist digital inclusion partners

There are a number of specialist organisations with a wealth of experience in tackling digital exclusion. Here are the leading organisations which you could approach to discuss working together.

GoodThings Foundation logo

Good Things Foundation is a national digital inclusion charity, and NHS Digital’s delivery partner in the Widening Digital Participation programme. Good Things co-ordinates the Online Centres Network, provides the online learning platform Learn My Way, carries out research into which digital solutions really make a difference to people’s lives, and delivers major digital inclusion projects.

OneDigital logo

One Digital partnership (funded by the Big Lottery) includes Age UK, Citizens Online, Clarion Futures (part of Clarion Housing Group), Digital Unite and SCVO. They are developing a collaborative approach to training and supporting digital champions so they can help people to learn digital skills. The One Digital Knowledge Hub shares different approaches to training and supporting Digital Champions.

Citizens Online logo

Citizens Online is a national charity set up to tackle the issues of digital exclusion. Their Switch approach is designed to help organisations ensure the switch to digital doesn’t exclude people - increasing online service uptake, supporting people to get the benefits of being online, and building skills and sustainable partnerships in local communities. Citizens Online manages the government’s Digital Inclusion Fund.

Digital Unite logo

Digital Unite focuses exclusively on vocational training and support for digital champions. Their Digital Champions Network is a comprehensive training and support system for aspiring and experienced digital champions. It has over 140 member organisations and supports thousands of digital champions nationwide with helping others with digital skills.

nominet trust logo

Nominet Trust is the UK’s largest funder of social tech initiatives, with over £17m made in grants since 2009. Currently funded projects include Digital Reach which is funding local projects supporting digital skills for hardest to reach young people. Nominet and the Learning Foundation are now leading Digital Access for All which focuses on ensuring children and young people are not digitally excluded.

AbilityNet logo

AbilityNet is working to build a more digitally accessible world, through accessibility audits, user testing, and expert advice to deliver more accessible websites and apps. Their network of AbilityNet IT can help volunteers visit disabled and elderly people in their own homes to fix IT problems. Factsheets and other resources are published.

mhabitat logo

mHabitat is an NHS hosted team specialising in co-design, digital skills and inclusion, policy and strategy, and evaluation. mHabitat has been leading work on digital practitioners helping health and care practitioners develop digital skills and confidence so they can make things better for people who access their services.

Last edited: 8 April 2020 12:44 pm