Reducing the digital divide: outstanding initiatives at the DigiCanvis Observatory

The digital divide is one of the main obstacles to the success of digital government services, as it prevents many people from accessing them and increases inequalities. in theDigicanvis Observatory we highlight several initiatives carried out by Catalan councils to address this problem from different perspectives.

These are projects that show how innovation and creativity can help reduce the digital divide. Each project focuses on a specific area of ​​improvement, such as digital skills, simplifying procedures or improving citizen care.

Lack of digital skills

According to the data of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) for the year 2023, almost a third of the Spanish population does not have basic digital skills. A lack of digital skills, such as navigating, using online applications or understanding technology, is a frequent barrier to online transactions.

Barcelona City Council has implemented ICT agents who offer training and personalized support to improve citizens' digital skills. This approach not only helps people to do procedures online, but also empowers them to use technology in their daily lives. This is an effective strategy for improving digital skills at the local level.

Complexity of online procedures

A study reveals that in Spain 83% of citizens leave a digital procedure halfway through because they do not understand it. If electronic procedures are not well designed or are not explained in plain language, citizens may have problems using them effectively.

Applying for a building permit, for example, can be complicated due to regulations and required documentation. Manresa City Council has created one guided assistant that facilitates the procedure and ensures that the documentation is correct, reducing errors and speeding up the processes. This project exemplifies how technology can make interactions with administration simpler and more accessible for everyone.

Lack of support and assistance

The difficulty in using e-government services is a reality that we cannot ignore. The City Council of El Prat de Llobregat has launched one telephone assistance service that offers comprehensive and personalized assistance to carry out electronic procedures. It is the ideal solution for those who need assistance with electronic processing, either because they have a complex electronic headquarters or have doubts about digital certificates.

Rubí City Council takes a step further in personalized assistance and offers a video call service channel that allows citizens to carry out procedures securely and sign documents electronically with the help of specialized agents. This tool is an important milestone in promoting accessibility and personalization in e-government services.

However, not everyone needs access to a phone or video support service. Many of the inquiries about processing made by citizens are repetitive and simple. Mataró City Council has deployed one citizen service chatbot that offers immediate responses to recurring responses via WhatsApp, Telegram and the municipal website. It frees up citizen service resources for more complex inquiries and allows citizens to interact with the town hall in the way they prefer.

We encourage you to visit theDigicanvis Observatory to explore these projects and consider how you can adapt them to your needs.