Difference between revisions of "Impact of digital technologies on social protection and human rights"

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), our members, and the wider third sector welcome the exploration by the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, into the human rights impacts, especially on those living in poverty, of the introduction of digital technologies in the implementation of national social protection systems.
 
Our response has been developed openly with input from the Scottish third sector: <nowiki>https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/Pages/CallforinputGADigitalTechnology.aspx</nowiki>
 
Key concerns include:
In 2016 the UN declared access to broadband to be a basic right. Without internet access in the home individuals have limited access to public services, channels for civic and democratic participation, knowledge and information tools, opportunities for social engagement, the labour market, and learning opportunities. Despite this, many individuals and households in Scotland and the UK cannot afford the devices and connections needed to benefit from the advantages the internet offers.
 
Home internet access varies considerably by household income. In 2017, 66% of households in Scotland with an income of £15,000 or less had home internet access rising to 99% in households with incomes over £40,000 (Scottish Household Survey, 2017). Additionally, only 71% of social housing tenants have home internet access, compared to 90% of home owners and 88% of private rented tenants. Older people, those with disabilities, and those in social housing or on low incomes are all more likely to be digitally excluded. While there is limited gender-disaggregated data for barriers to internet access in Scotland, [https://www.engender.org.uk/ Engender] highlight that there is a clear correlation between low online participation and other areas of deprivation which are highly gendered. Women, for example, are the majority of older people, working-age people living in poverty, and lone parents. Women are also twice as dependent on social security as men, with 20% of women’s income coming from the benefits and tax credit system, compared with 10% of men’s. Individuals with lower levels of literacy, poor digital skills, or for whom English is not there first language also face additional barriers. The people and communities most likely to be supported by public services are therefore also those most likely to be digitally excluded. Despite this, both the UK and Scottish GovernmentGovernments' are increasingly moving services online. The Department for Work and Pensions, for example, planned for 80% of Universal Credit applications to be completed online by 2017 as part of a transition towards digital only services.
 
TheSCVO, Mydex, Engender, Inclusion Scotland, CPAG Scotland and others across the Scottish third sector recognise that the digitalisation of public services can simplify and integrate services. However, publicPublic services, however, must be accessible to all. TheTo achieve this the varied needs of public services users must be consideredcentral to the development of social security protections and supported by initiatives to ensure that everyone can use and access digitaltheir servicesright to social security. Equal access to digital services is essential to reducingreduce inequalities, and poverty, meetingand theensure SDGsboth SDG and fulfillinghuman rights commitments are fulfilled. Both the UK and Scottish Governments' therefore have a duty to overcome any digital, legal, financial, or administrative challenges that fail to fulfil the right to social security.
====Universal Credit====
In 2010 the UK's Department for Work & Pensions introduced Universal Credit (UC) to replace six means-tested benefits for working-age households. Universal Credit aimed to: improve the incentive to work; make entitlements simpler; reduce fraud and error; and reduce the costs of administering entitlements. The original completion date for UC was October 2017, however, after considerable technical challenges in implementing UC, including problems managing the programme and developing the necessary technology, this date has been moved back repeatedly. It is currently anticipated that when Full Service rollout is complete in 2023, 652,500 people in Scotland will be claim their entitlement to Universal Credit.