Leeds Digital Capabilities Pledge  

Each citizen should be able to access basic services and communicate to other citizens via a device which they have access to, most of the time.  

What this means 

  1. Discerning who currently doesn’t have a device. 
  1. Discerning where data poverty is. 
  1. Discerning who needs help with digital literacy. 

By making the pledge, the city recognises the complexity of solving the issue. But commits to doing so.  

Leeds commits to citizens having the basic necessities to live a dignified life in 2021. Digital access is one of those necessities.  

Furthermore, digital access is a fertile functioning. That is, satisfying that goal is important in part due to its instrumental benefit. Being able to participate through communication can help achieve other valuable ends, as is the case when somebody has access to healthcare, information and to community online. Online access is, in 2021, part of what is required to take part in society alongside literacy, nutrition and healthcare. 

What could this look like?  

At an individual level, digital capabilities equip each citizen to live, learn and work in Leeds today. Every capability has a pathway and we welcome your thoughts on what this can look like in our city. 

What should we include? 

As a minimum, we believe that everyone in Leeds has a right to barrier-free access to high-speed internet for home, work or education purposes, an affordable computing device when they need it, and the competencies to use them safely, securely and effectively. The pledge above only encompasses elements of digital access and digital competencies, and we maintain the opinion that we need go further than this in our city. We’ve sketched out additional elements below, based on initial conversations with partner organisations linked to Digital Access West Yorkshire, but we’re ready to listen and develop this together with you.  

Elements of Digital Capabilities 

Taken from the Jisc digital capabilities framework

A Digital Call to Arms 

Now, more than ever, digital capabilities make it possible to thrive and fully participate in society for educational attainment, positive health and wellbeing outcomes, social interactions and economic growth. However, exclusion is a changing phenomenon as we have seen with new issues arising from digitality during each phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

When we launched Digital Access West Yorkshire, our mission was to get digital access into the hands of people who needed to get on with their lives – adults, children and families across the region. Our hope now is to make a case, starting in Leeds, for emphasis on the need for increased digital capabilities so that everyone lives a dignified life in 2021.