Digital inclusion takes centre stage

A free software widget to allow people to search the web for information on public services in their area is to be launched today by the Directgov website. The Directgov team is taking the opportunity to use what may be the last big public showing for the highest profile IT-related programme of Gordon Brown’s government, the digital inclusion drive, according to local government portal

The National Digital Inclusion Conference, which opens in London today, will open with a message from the prime minister. Digital Britain minister, Stephen Timms, will talk about the National Plan for Digital Participation launched this week. Martha Lane Fox, the champion for Digital Inclusion, is expected to reveal further details of the plan to collect “digital promises” from more than 10,000 private, public and charitable organisations.

One highlight will be a cross-party Question Time featuring long-time digital enthusiast Derek Wyatt MP (Labour), Conservative heavy-hitter Baroness Warsi and the LibDems’ Lembit Opik (Lib Dem).

Helen Milner, managing director of UK online centres, said: “It’s wonderful to see support for digital inclusion coming from the top – and just before a general election is testament to the fact this is now central to the wider agendas of economic growth, social justice and the improvement of government services.”

Downloadable presentations here.