The Minister for Public Expenditure NDP Delivery and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today, (Thursday), published Digital for Good: Ireland’s Digital Inclusion Roadmap.
As digital technologies become increasingly woven into our daily lives, there is a risk that some people could be disadvantaged and therefore left behind.
However, much work is progressing across government to achieve digital inclusion through better skills, access and infrastructure.
Digital for Good: Ireland’s Digital Inclusion Roadmap brings this work together in a coherent manner and sets out key supplementary measures. This shows how Government continues to empower and support everyone to use digital services in a meaningful way. It is also in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’ principle of “Leave No One Behind”.
The goals for the Roadmap are:
- To make Ireland one of the most digitally inclusive States in the EU; and
- That everyone should have the opportunity to use digital services, including digital public services, in a meaningful way.
Speaking at the publication, Minister Donohoe said:
I am delighted today to publish Digital for Good: Ireland’s Digital Inclusion Roadmap.
There are many existing initiatives and supports being progressed that will directly contribute to improving digital inclusion through better skills, access and infrastructure, and reducing digital divides at national, local and community level right across the country.
Digital for Good: Ireland’s Digital Inclusion Roadmap brings together this work in a coherent manner and sets out key supplementary measures.
Minister Donohoe added:
I would like to thank in particular the representative groups that were consulted in preparation of the Roadmap for their engagement and valuable contributions.
The Roadmap also reflects the ask to public service bodies in the Public Service Transformation 2030 Strategy – Better Public Services, to identify and prioritise actions that support digital inclusion to make sure no one is left behind.
Minister of State Ossian Smyth said:
With this Roadmap, we are recommitting to making digital inclusion a core part of designing and delivering quality digital public services. This reflects our view that a digital by default approach to public services does not mean digital only.
Digital for Good: Ireland’s Digital Inclusion Roadmap uses the dimensions of the national digital strategy, Harnessing Digital – Digital Transformation of Business, Digital Infrastructure, Skills, and Digitalisation of Public Services – as the context to translate high-level commitments into measures aimed at achieving these outcomes.
Digital for Good: Ireland’s Digital Inclusion Roadmap fulfils a commitment in the Programme for Government: Our Shared Future, which sets out a vision of a vibrant, inclusive, and thriving Ireland where no one is left behind.
The national digital strategy, Harnessing Digital – The Digital Ireland Framework, places a strong emphasis on inclusiveness, security and safety includes a specific commitment to ensure Government better serves those cohorts who are not in a position to engage online through a clear plan involving focused supports, including skills and infrastructure, and assisted digital facilities safeguarded through appropriate consents and protocols.
A sub-group of the Senior Officials’ Group on Digital developed Digital for Good: Ireland’s Digital Inclusion Roadmap. Most Departments were represented on the sub-group and the remaining were consulted as required.
A number of non-governmental groups were consulted in preparation of the Roadmap as was the National Disability Authority.
The High-Level commitments in the Roadmap are:
- We will achieve digital inclusion through a coherent and integrated all of government approach to delivering the United Nations principle of “Leave No One Behind”;
- We will maintain our focus on ensuring everyone can benefit from digital opportunities in a meaningful way, through access to the necessary infrastructure, as well as having the confidence, skills and literacy to engage fully in a digital society;
- We will build on the willingness of businesses to contribute to digital inclusion;
- We recommit to making digital inclusion a core part of designing and delivering quality digital public services. By doing so, we will encourage people to choose to use digital public services and at the same time, free up resources to assist those who cannot;
- We will build greater awareness of and maintain trust in digital public services for all;
- We will ask users of our services for their views when designing digital public services; and
- We will measure the impacts and outcomes of our digital inclusion efforts.
Some of the measures included in the Roadmap include:
- The Roadmap sets out how the Government will foster and encourage public, private and voluntary sector organisations to demonstrate their commitment to supporting the Digital Inclusion of their employees and customers by signing a Charter for Digital Inclusion that will enable them to share their activities;
- The Roadmap sets out the structures and measures through which the State will tackle harmful online content and misinformation and disinformation including the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022 and the establishment of Coimisiún na Meán and appointment of an Online Safety Commissioner and a Digital Services Commissioner;
- The Roadmap commits to continually improving connectivity through the National Broadband Plan, Broadband Connection Points and the local library network;
- The Roadmap commits to providing all primary and special schools with high-speed connectivity in 2023;
- The Roadmap commits to supporting media literacy through the Media Literacy Ireland Network;
- The Roadmap commits to driving and promoting digital literacy through the Adult Literacy for Life Strategy and the Digital Strategy for Schools. This will include allocating up to €1m following a call for proposals under the ALL Innovation and Collaboration Fund, which will include digital literacy projects;
- Supporting over 100 ICT Apprentices on their two-year pathway to becoming full-time members of the Civil Service digital workforce and supporting other areas of the Public Service in implementing similar programmes;
- The Roadmap commits to extending facilities available at the Department of Social Protection’s 63 Intreo Centres to facilitate access to the www.MyWelfare.ie portal including establishing a MyGovID account;
- Develop an action plan to embed design techniques in the delivery of services to the public, following the principles set out in Designing our Public Services (https://www.ops.gov.ie/
- The Roadmap commits to expanding the languages supported on the gov.ie portal as part of the 2023 enhancement programme.