Thursday, 8 January 2015

Stephen Metcalfe MP speaks up for digital inclusion

Local MP, Stephen Metcalfe for South Basildon and East Thurrock has this week spoken in Parliament on the issue of ‘digitising Government services’ and how it will affect his constituents.

Stephen Metcalfe, rising to the floor of the House of Commons, addressed the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and asked: “What future plans he has to achieve efficiency and reform savings by digitising Government services?”

The Minister replied: “As part of our long-term economic plan, we are moving a first wave of 25 public services online. Our future plans are to secure further savings by digitising more public services and moving to a “Government as a platform” model, building common digital infrastructure for services that improves the user experience and saves money by building common services only once.”

Stephen Metcalfe, keen to ensure that the needs of his constituents are kept in mind when new reforms are implemented, replied by asking: “How are the Government working with the private sector and voluntary sector in Thurrock and Basildon to ensure that my constituents have the relevant training to be able to access these services?”

The Minister replied: “Britain already has a high level of digital inclusion, and it is rising, but we are determined to go further and get more people online. We are working closely with almost 70 organisations from the private and voluntary sectors that are signed up to our digital inclusion charter.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “I believe it is vital that as the natural process of digitising many of our Government services continues, that we keep in mind the needs of those who will actually be using them and do not allow a digital divide to be created.”

“Overall, this all forms part of the Conservative long-term economic plan. There is so much to be gained in digitising Government services, both for the private and public sectors, as well as charitable organisations. And I am pleased to see the Government taking the issue of digital inclusion seriously.”