Public Sector Must Work Together over Digital Divide
Digital technology is the key to manage the consequences of poverty effectively and efficiently.
23:34 05 March 2019
A 2016 report published by Heriot-Watt and Loughborough Universities has revealed that the United Kingdom spends approximately £78billion a year to deal with poverty. This figure represents 25per cent of health spending or more than a third of the housing budget and 60per cent of children’s social care expenditure.
Local government units are always looking for ways to effectively manage the consequences of poverty while reducing the impact on each of their service’s budget. The NHS, for example, continuously explores various methods to effectively provide quality care to its patients using innovative health technologies in order to cut costs. Many patients are now being monitored remotely, which reduces hospital admissions by 50per cent and saves the NHS millions of pounds every year. Local authorities are also engaging residents through digital services allowing them to access adult and children’s social care services via apps, online portals and digital self-assessment forms.
However, the biggest challenge that threatens the success of this strategy is the deepening digital divide. Figures released by Ofcom shows that people living in poorest households are three times to be more unlikely to have internet access compared to the national average.