Report of the Digital Britain Media Literacy Working Group, 27 March 2009

16 April 2009

Executive Summary

1.1 ‘Digital Britain –The Interim Report’ recognised that there are many organisations working to address the media literacy needs of the UK population, but efforts to date have been fragmented and there has been little strategic or operational coordination. As a result resources may not reach those in most need or achieve the desired outcome of a digitally engaged and capable Digital Britain.

1.2 Digital Britain asked Ofcom to form a Working Group including the relevant government departments and devolved Nations, BBC, industry, education and Third Sector to develop a central focus and clear agenda for delivery. In a short time it has produced surprising unanimity and what we believe is a creatively exciting solution. The Group took an integrated view of 3 policy strands which have hitherto been approached separately: Digital Inclusion, Digital Life Skills and Digital Media Literacy. This offers the prospect of coordinated activity with the single vision.

1.3 This report sets out an ambitious range of strategic options to drive digital engagement for all sections of society. Some involve the development and promotion of existing activity, while others call for new initiatives.

1.4 The Group proposes that the implementation of this vision is achieved by two separate but connected processes.

1.5 The first is that Government should set the priorities and the intended outcomes in a more strategic and co-ordinated way than presently exists. This will require the reprioritising of existing government expenditure to achieve greater impact and better value for money.

1.6 The second is that a consortium of stakeholders needs to be formed to work with government to encourage people to become more digitally engaged. The Group believes this consortium can create a systematic, co-ordinated and sustained marketing programme.

1.7 As a result of the relationships built within the Working Group we are pleased to report that we have been able to mobilise a substantial consortium of media and communication companies willing to commit to delivering a digitally engaged society.

1.8 The following organisations have agreed in principle to join such a consortium:

  • BBC
  • ITV
  • Channel 4
  • BSkyB
  • Broadband Stakeholder Group
  • A group of social media/portals
  • UK online centres’ 6,000 sites
  • National Institute of Adult Continuing Education

1.9 They would join with Government to provide leadership for creating a truly digitally engaged society. Government will be called on to provide seed corn funding to develop the Programme assets, but the overall value of the Programme’s output will be substantially more because of the contributions in kind. Other organisations would be invited to support the Programme and use their existing and new activities to deliver the intended outcomes.

1.10 We believe the proposals outlined in this report represent a bold and imaginative framework to equip all members of society to reap the benefits of a Digital Britain.