• Age UK, BBC, Big Lottery Fund (BIG), E.ON, Lloyds Banking Group, Post Office Limited and TalkTalk pledge to work together to bring the benefits of the internet to every individual and every organisation in every community across the UK
  • Radical cross-sector partnership commits to act to boost the digital capability of UK SMEs, charities and the final 8.2 million offline adults
  • Unprecedented collaboration of Go ON UK Founding Partners who will pool resources, share expertise, reach and networks to support ‘social and business imperative’

The UK Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox today launched Go ON UK, a radical new cross-sector partnership that has set itself an extraordinary challenge.

For the first time a national broadcaster, a bank, a utility company, a telecoms provider, a community retail network, a charity and a funder are establishing a new organisation to bring the benefits of the internet to every individual and every organisation in every community across the UK.

UK Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox said “The UK leads the world in most indicators of digital capability: the internet contributes more to our GDP than to that of any other G20 county and is predicted to grow 11% a year to reach £221bn by 20161. However, many individuals and organisations still struggle to exploit the broader benefits of technology, a problem that is particularly acute for our small businesses, older people and charities that are currently at risk of being left behind”.

“Go ON UK has an exciting vision to make the UK the world’s most digitally capable nation where no one – old or disadvantaged and no organisation – even the smallest – is left behind. This is a big challenge. But it is a challenge all of us in Go ON UK are wholly committed to, and given the combined strength of our extraordinary partners I’m confident we can deliver an outstanding national plan that will inspire real change”.

14% of SME’s sell products and services online (Lloyds Banking Group2) and ICT is the charity sector’s biggest skills gap3. Meanwhile, whilst 81% of computer literate older people say they feel more part of modern society4, 8.2m UK adults5 have still never used the internet and continue to miss out on the huge social and financial benefits it can offer. Recent research for the BBC suggests there is a significant demand for resources that help people with low digital literacy to improve their skills and become more creative online6.

Lane Fox continues: “We set up Race Online 2012 in 2010 as a short term campaign aimed primarily at getting more people online for the first time. Two years on, and thanks to the amazing work of our extraordinary mix of cross-sector partners and 50,000-strong local digital champion network, we have seen over 2 million new people get more out of life online”.

“Go ON UK is a very different organisation with a broader remit to include building the capacity of organisations as well as individuals. It will pick up the baton from Race Online 2012 by building on its fantastic assets and continuing to highlight the amazing benefits of the web to the final 8.2m adults who remain offline in the UK, whilst ensuring all organisations are making the best use of digital technologies. It will also have a more sustainable long term funding model, with Founder Partners committed to covering the core costs of Go ON UK for the next three years”.

“The private sector including small businesses will grow twice as fast as their competitors if they are online7, and evidence shows that SMEs with a web presence do get significant benefits with 68% saying it saves time and/or money and 37% agreeing it increases sales volumes” (Lloyds Banking Group8). The charity sector is facing unprecedented funding cuts and rising demand for services. Working with charities to use technology to deliver the best services possible for end users and take the cost out of their business has never been more urgent. Go ON UK will push for a step-change in how these sectors’ use digital – so that the small businesses that contribute so much to our prosperity can grow and compete, and so charities that are the lifeblood of our communities continue to thrive”.

“Failing to act now would result in charities and small businesses operating at a significant disadvantage as the rest of the UK becomes increasingly digital”, concludes Lane Fox.

Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk, said: “The internet connects and entertains, educates and informs – it even saves money. Yet there are children growing up today in towns and cities that are fully broadband enabled who do not have internet access at home to support their education. TalkTalk believes that every family should be able to have safe and affordable internet access and, as the UK’s leading value for money broadband provider, this belief is at the very heart of our business. We are proud to be a founder partner of Go ON UK and make this vision a reality.”

Built on the recommendations made by consultancy firm Capgemini which conducted an independent review of Race Online 2012, Go ON UK is founded by some of Britain’s biggest organisations, representing the UK’s key industry sectors.

The BBC’s Director-General Mark Thompson, TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding, Age UK CEO Tom Wright, BIG CEO Peter Wanless, Lloyds Banking Group MD Customer, Brands, Digital & Telephone Banking, Eva Eisenschimmel, Post Office Limited Chief Executive Paula Vennells, E.ON Marketing Director Jeremy Davies and Executive Director of the Government Digital Service, Mike Bracken will sit on the Go ON UK board and develop national plan of activities for the first 18 months as well as the Go ON UK vision for 2020.

Go ON UK has also recruited as strategic partners some of the country’s leading practitioners such as UK online centres, Childnet and One Voice to ensure that their expertise is embedded in Go ON UK’s plans and programmes.

1 Source Boston Consulting Group, Jan 2012
2 Source Lloyds Banking Group/BDRC April 2012
3 Source NCVO
4 Source
5 Source ONS Labour Force Survey Feb 2012
6 Source Ipsos Mori, April 2012
7 Source McKinsey, 2011
8 Source Lloyds Banking Group/BDRC April 2012