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GMCA unveils digital exclusion risk indicator


Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has unveiled a new tool to help organisations identify areas with high risk levels for digital exclusion.

Named the Digital Exclusion Risk Index (DERI), it was developed by the Manchester Office for Data Analytics in alignment with a similar tool used by Salford City Council and has been made available for use throughout England, Wales and Scotland.

GMCA said this derives from local authorities finding they have been unable to understand the scale of the challenge locally, and the absence of single consistent view or understanding of digital exclusion as a facet of broader social inequalities.

The DERI brings together a broad set of indicators to create an overall score for an area, from 0 to low risk to 10 for high. It is based on demography, deprivation and broadband, with each component calculated using several indicators.

It provides dashboards for all of these and an overall view.

The authority has worked with a range of organisations including local authorities, the Good Things Foundation and UNICEF in testing the tool and gathering feedback.

Basic human right

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “The time has come that digital access is considered a basic human right. We must fix the digital divide, the consequences of not doing so are severe – with our people at risk of further social isolation, lack of equal opportunities and not being able to access support, with so many services moving online due to the pandemic.

“The DERI Tool is nationally significant in how we understand levels of digital exclusion and inequalities and those areas at particular risk of exclusion so that we can collectively work to address the issue and support our residents and communities to thrive.”

Image from iStock, Teamjackson

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