11th February 2013
Talking digital inclusion at the European Commission
I'm Jordan, and I'm a developer at the Government Digital Service at the Cabinet Office. I work on GOV.UK, which became the single website for the government last October. I've just been appointed to the European Commission's Young Advisors Expert Group, where I'll be advising the Vice President Neelie Kroes on issues relating to the Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe.
With the help of Martha Lane Fox, our team at GDS have spent the last eighteen months building accessible and easy-to-use digital services around user needs, driving change through government, and helping those who aren't online to access public services through assisted digital. We've learned so much along the way.
The Digital Agenda for Europe is a really comprehensive strategy which sets out the digital policy fit for the future. In particular, there's a push to improve digital literacy, helping the 150 million people in Europe who have never used the internet before to get online and developing digital skills. There's a commitment to making public sector websites accessible to all users and squarely focussed on user needs.
There's also a pledge to attract more young people to education in ICT-related subjects. Having taught myself to code when I was young, I think any step towards improving teaching in ICT and computer science is absolutely a step in the right direction. There's already a handful of pioneering projects underway right here in the UK by groups like Code Club and Young Rewired State.
From the things we've done at GDS, and the lessons we've learned, I hope I can bring an informed perspective throughout the year to issues affecting the future digital society across Europe. I'm looking forward to hearing how others have approached these issues too, and if you have an interesting story to tell, I'd love for you to get in touch.