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GDS on the hunt for digital training and support suppliers

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is looking for digital training services suppliers to take part in a framework agreement worth £35m

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has launched a £35m tender for a digital training and support framework, in a bid to reduce digital exclusion.

The tender is supported by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and aims to find suppliers which can “provide digital training and support services to reduce the number of digitally excluded people in the UK by removing the barriers presented by lack of access, digital skills, vulnerability or motivation”.

There are 10.5 million people in the UK who lack basic digital skills, and many of those either can’t or don’t use digital government services independently, the tender stated.

The two-year framework agreement will be worth £35m and consists of five lots, including support to use digital services, digital inclusion research and analysis, the design of a digital inclusion course, delivery of digital skills training and a promotion campaign.

Any supplier wanting to sell services related to digital training or support must submit their services to the framework first, the GDS said in a blog post.

The framework will help drive forward the GDS’s assisted digital programme, which works with several government departments to ensure that “the 18% of UK adults who are offline or have low digital skills” get the support they need to use digital services.

In 2014, the government launched a digital inclusion strategy which aims to reduce the number of UK people who are not online by 25%.

The strategy includes a UK Digital Inclusion Charter, where public, private and voluntary sector organisations sign up to get an additional 2.7 million people online by 2016, and a further 25% every two years after that.

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The first step should be to stop creating Government Digital Services that are "as user friendly as a cornered rat". I used that phrase in 1983 to describe some of the software products of the day. Today it can still be used to describe far too many websites designed by clever youngsters unable to put themselves into the mindset of those who most need to use them and too arrogant to look at 30 year of research and guidance on how to design websites for use by those with physical or mental infirmities.
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