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The Communications Consumer Panel's consumer framework for digital participation is helping Government to make consumers an integral element of its new National Plan for Digital Participation, announced on 2nd March by Stephen Timms.

Developed by the Panel, the framework is based on a comprehensive review of research with people at all stages of their digital participation journey and sets out what people themselves say they need to get online and get the most out of the internet.

Of course, understanding what people need to get online is only the first step. The next step is making sure that everyone can get help to meet those needs. The Panel will be working closely with Government and the Digital Participation Consortium to achieve this.

The plan sets a target for a 60% reduction in the 12.5 million people who are not currently online, with older people and the less well off a particular focus.

It also puts forward ideas about how to use social marketing techniques and targeted outreach to increase the numbers of people going online. This work will be led by the Digital Participation Consortium, which is made up of over 60 representatives from industry and the third sector and chaired by the communications regulator Ofcom.

The Panel will be publishing the framework, along with the research that underpins it, in Spring 2010.