Public sector pioneers: Reusing IT equipment to bridge the digital divide

CEP Secretariat
April 11, 2024
2 min read

Public sector pioneers: Reusing IT equipment to bridge the digital divide

Author: Good Things Foundation

Public sector providers – in health, education, government – are increasingly worried about digital exclusion and deepening inequalities among the populations they serve. For some, this includes digital exclusion in their workforce. Concerns are intensifying in the cost of living crisis and a time of rapid digital transformation of public services, where efficiencies rely on people using online services regularly and confidently.

Public sector providers are also stepping up to the challenge of climate change, working out their pathways to reducing landfill, achieving net zero targets, and promoting a more regenerative, circular economy.

These two drivers – social and environmental – are now being brought together by pioneers in the public, voluntary, and commercial sectors, intent on finding ways to deliver social good at the same time as achieving greater circularity.

Reusing IT equipment to tackle digital exclusion is a powerful example of innovation which delivers social and environmental benefits.

This research, conducted by Good Things Foundation, together with University of Liverpool, with public sector leaders across the UK indicates this is an innovation which is fast gaining traction.

This report shares findings from nearly thirty interviews with leaders across the UK from local authorities, devolved and central government, NHS Foundation Trusts, universities, colleges and civil society organisations. It complements recent research with the Circular Electronics Partnership and Deloitte which developed a model for ‘circular electronics for social good’. The overarching model holds, with similar enablers and barriers, and it is exciting to see public sector leaders innovating and adapting in ways that are better for the planet while helping to close what is a widening and deepening digital divide in society.

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