A very high proportion of people in London use the internet but what are they able to do when they are online? 91% of Londoners have at some point accessed the internet according to survey data from the Office for National Statistics, reported by Urbs. But fewer than that have basic skills it would seem, according to a another survey into digital capability?
The research, commissioned by the charity Go On UK, which aims to improve digital skills in individuals and organisations, shows that Londoners come out on top in the UK, but 16% would fail to perform 5 basic digital skills.
The charity identified a series of task to define digital skills, from searching for information, to filling out an online form or creating something from online assets. Those with all 5 are defined as having Basic Digital Skills, those with the first 4 as having Basic Online Skills.
Research company Ipsos carried out face-to-face interviews with 4,167 people nationally, 577 of them in London, to assess skills. 71% nationally possessed all 5 skills; in London it was 84%.
Looking at the survey results at local authority level saw a high point of 90% in the City of London and above average scores of 88% in Kensington and Chelsea, and 86% in Wandsworth. Seven boroughs had rates below 80% with the lowest recorded in Redbridge, 76% and Newham, 73%.
Across the UK, skill levels in older people are much less common but the decline for those over 45 was much steeper in London than the rest of the country. While skill levels for groups below 44 are almost identical, in the 65+ age category 43% have the basic digital skills but only 38% in London.
One positive difference between London and the rest of the country is the gender gap, which the survey suggests doesn’t exist in the capital. In the UK as a whole 80% of men and 74% of women had the basic digital skills. In London it was 84% and 83%.
Access to broadband emerged as a key factor as did ownership of digital devices. London scores well in both these areas; 93% of respondents in London had broadband access and 94% owned a smartphone.