Notice points to procurement for services to provide training and help for non-internet users
The Government Digital Service (GDS) has stepped up the effort to get more people going online with the first stage of a procurement for training services.
It cited the inability of many people to use digital public services as one of the reasons for the move, which points towards more private sector bodies providing training and help to people who are unable to use the internet.
The GDS has published a prior information notice (PIN) in the Official Journal of the European Union, asking potential suppliers to express their interest before the formal procurement begins in the autumn.
It says the move is a joint effort with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to provide training and support for the estimated 10.5 million people in the UK who lack basic digital skills.
The PIN says there will be two lots within a procurement framework, one for assisted digital services to help people deal with the public sector online, the other for digital inclusion services to provide training. They will be available for use by all public authorities around the UK.
“Our research shows many users currently seek support from different organisations to complete government transactions on paper forms,” the GDS said in a blogpost. “Many will continue to require support to complete transactions digitally. This framework will enable departments to commission the support their users need.”
The move is the latest step in the GDS campaign to get more people using online services. Earlier this month it launched an outcomes framework and evaluation tool to help authorities track the progress of their digital inclusion efforts.
It followed the launch in March of the Digital Friends scheme, which encourages people to find friends, family, neighbours or colleagues to help them use the internet. It involves a group of organisations including BCS The Chartered Institute for IT, the BBC, Digital Unite, The Society of Chief Librarians and Age UK.
The Cabinet Office has a programme to reduce the “offline population” by 25% every two years, aiming for everyone possible to be online by 2020.