Sacha Green, author of the Citizens Advice Bureau report on digital exclusion, tells Eldernet just how big the problem is and how we all can help to ensure no one gets left behind in the rush to move online https://www.eldernet.co.nz/gazette/qa-cabs-sacha-green-on-digital-exclusion/
To: Candidates in the 2020 General Election
Leave no-one behind: Campaign to address digital exclusion
We're asking election candidates to pledge their commitment to the following:
1. Leave no-one behind: Ensure that steps are taken to address digital exclusion and that no-one is left behind or left out because they can’t or don’t wish to engage online.
2. Public services accessible to all: Implement accessibility and inclusion standards for the delivery of public services that include offline channels as part of the proactive design of government service delivery.
3. CAB compensated for cost-shifting: Ensure that the Citizens Advice Bureau is properly funded to meet the demands and cost-shifting that has resulted from government services going online.
Add your voice to this call to address digital exclusion!
Why is this important?
Have you or someone you know ever tried to fill out a government form online?
How about doing that on your phone? And uploading documents to it?
What if your internet connection was limited? Or English wasn’t your first language? Or you were vision impaired? Or didn't have a credit card?
What if you needed help to understand, and what you really wanted was someone to talk to?
Consider the frustration this causes you and what it looks like when you’re made further vulnerable as you stare into the digital divide.
The digital-only or digital-first approach being embraced by government agencies is excluding some of Aotearoa’s most vulnerable people and communities. This is unacceptable. We want to see people’s needs put at the centre of public services and are asking candidates seeking election as our representatives in Parliament, to pledge to ensuring this is the case.
Interacting with government services is often about accessing rights and entitlements and it’s important that there aren’t any barriers in the way. Digital services are not the right response for all people or in all circumstances. There needs to be genuine choice for people about how they can interact - whether online, face-to-face, through others or by phone.
It is critical that as a country we don’t allow the digital transformation of public services to further entrench disadvantage and vulnerability.
We have written to election candidates asking them to commit to addressing digital exclusion so that no-one is left behind or left out because they can't or don't wish to engage online.
As part of this campaign, we are also seeking funding to cover the transfer of costs that has resulted from government agencies closing up shop in communities and sending people to get help from CABs, including to get paper copies of forms.
Join us in this call to address digital exclusion so that we leave no-one behind!
This campaign builds on the findings and recommendations of our report, ‘Face to Face with digital exclusion’. You can read the full report here: https://www.cab.org.nz/what-we-do/social-justice/digital-exclusion/