Digital Strategy Rural Screening

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Digital Strategy Rural Needs Impact Assessment

 

SECTION 1 -
Defining the activity subject to Section 1(1) of the Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016
 
1A. Name of Public Authority.
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.
 
 
1B. Please provide a short title which describes the activity being undertaken by the Public Authority that is subject to Section 1(1) of the Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016.
Digital Strategy
 
 
1C. Please indicate which category the activity specified in Section 1B above relates to.

Developing a            Policy   ☐          Strategy   ☒           Plan   ☐ 

Adopting a                Policy   ☐          Strategy   ☐           Plan   ☐

Implementing a         Policy   ☐          Strategy   ☐           Plan   ☐ 

Revising a                 Policy   ☐          Strategy   ☐           Plan   ☐ 

Designing a Public Service   ☒

Delivering a Public Service   ☒ 

 
 
1D. Please provide the official title (if any) of the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service document or initiative relating to the category indicated in Section 1C above.

Digital Strategy

 

 
 
1E. Please provide details of the aims and/or objectives of the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service.
The desired outcomes of the Digital Strategy are to; develop an effective digital connectivity plan and to be prepared for any future funding opportunities that may arise supporting communication investments,
transform Council’s digital capabilities both in-house and for services offered to public, ensure educational/ skills programmes are available to all skill levels to safeguarding abilities.  To be effective members of an increasingly technological workforce, provide support for the local business community and create digital spaces that can improve business productivity and longevity and enhance the potential to attract tourism and investment to Borough.
 
 
 
1F. What definition of ‘rural’ is the Public Authority using in respect of the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service?
Population Settlements of less than 5,000 (Default definition).      ☒
Other Definition (Provide details and the rationale below).            ☐
A definition of ‘rural’ is not applicable.                                            ☐
 
Details of alternative definition of ‘rural’ used.
N/A
 
Rationale for using alternative definition of ‘rural’.
N/A
 
Reasons why a definition of ‘rural’ is not applicable.
N/A
 
 
 
SECTION 2 -
Understanding the impact of the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service
 
 
2A. Is the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service likely to impact on people in rural areas?
Yes   ☒        No    ☐        If the response is NO GO TO Section 2E.
 
 
2B. Please explain how the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service is likely to impact on people in rural areas.

The Digital Strategy will benefit all members of society regardless of how they self-identify.  The strategy has identified three key themes that will address the digital needs of all those situated in rural areas.  

Digital Infrastructure – strategy includes roll-out of digital connectivity programmes (FFNI and Project Stratum) that will enhance rural connectivity.

Digital Skills – strategy will inform Council‘s work with relevant bodies to develop educational digital programmes at basic, professional and advanced levels ensuring that those within rural communities have opportunities to avail of such programmes.

Digital Sector – strategy includes development of digital hubs and networking support that will outreach to rural communities.

 

 
 
2C. If the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service is likely to impact on people in rural areas differently from people in urban areas, please explain how it is likely to impact on people in rural areas differently.

The Digital Strategy will benefit all members of society regardless of how they self-identify.  The strategy has identified three key themes that will address the digital needs of all those situated in rural areas.  

Digital Infrastructure – strategy includes roll-out of digital connectivity programmes (FFNI and Project Stratum) that will provide reliable rural connectivity.

Digital Skills – strategy will inform Council‘s work with relevant bodies to develop educational digital programmes at basic, professional and advanced levels ensuring that those within rural communities have opportunities to avail of such programmes.  

Digital Sector – strategy includes development of digital hubs and networking support that will outreach to rural communities.  As seen throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, more individuals have seen the benefits of working remotely, it is highly likely that this will be a continuing trend once we emerge from the pandemic.  Digital hubs will be located in rural and urban areas to encourage young professions to remain in the area via remote working.
 

 
 
2D. Please indicate which of the following rural policy areas the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service is likely to primarily impact on.
Rural Businesses                   ☒
Rural Tourism                 ☒
Rural Housing                 ☒
Jobs or Employment in Rural Areas                 ☒
Education or Training in Rural Areas                 ☒
Broadband or Mobile Communications in Rural Areas                 ☒
Transport Services or Infrastructure in Rural Areas                 ☐
Health or Social Care Services in Rural Areas                 ☐
Poverty in Rural Areas Deprivation in Rural Areas                 ☐
Rural Crime or Community Safety                 ☐
Rural Development                 ☒
Agri-Environment                 ☐
Other (Please state): Urban shopping for 
individuals from
urban and rural areas. 
If the response to Section 2A was YES GO TO Section 3A.
 
 
2E. Please explain why the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service is NOT likely to impact on people in rural areas.
N/A
 
 
 

SECTION 3 -
Identifying the Social and Economic Needs of Persons in Rural Areas

 
 
3A. Has the Public Authority taken steps to identify the social and economic needs of people in rural areas that are relevant to the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service?
Yes   ☒        No    ☐        If the response is NO GO TO Section 3E.
 
 
3B. Please indicate which of the following methods or information sources were used by the Public Authority to identify the social and economic needs of people in rural areas.

Consultation with Rural Stakeholders     ☒          Published Statistics    ☒

Consultation with Other Organisations   ☒           Research Papers       ☒

Surveys or Questionnaires                     ☒           Other Publications     ☐  

Other Methods or Information Sources (include details in Question 3C below).  ☐ 

 
 
3C. Please provide details of the methods and information sources used to identify the social and economic needs of people in rural areas including relevant dates, names of organisations, titles of publications, website references, details of surveys or consultations undertaken etc.

Council employed consultancy firm, GreySky Consulting, to provide expertise and assistance on Digital Strategy preparation. The consultants also provided insight into the needs of the community. 

Council conducted a survey in 2018, ‘Business Support Needs: Have Your Say!’ which identified that poor broadband connection directly affected how organisations conducted their business.  

Council through the Rural Development Programme has seen a growing need for broadband to be improved in these areas, to enable businesses to successful advance the services they can offer.  

Council’s Workforce Development Group has identified the need for improved broadband connection, an example of this would be CAFRE have indicated that students taking their courses are less likely to have a reliable internet connection in rural farming areas, resulting in more isolation and an inability to connect to resources and teaching staff online.

 
 
3D. Please provide details of the social and economic needs of people in rural areas which have been identified by the Public Authority?

Economically: 

  • The only costs incurred by this strategy are to Council.


Socially:

  • Population of the region currently stands at 144,838.  
  • Population by age – 18.4% are 0 to 14, 35.9% are 15-44, 27.3% are 45-64 and 18.4% are 65+.
  • Gender – 49.5% of population are male and 50.5% are female.
  • Dependents – 33% of population have at least one dependent.
  • Labour Market – 66% economically active, with 61% of people employed and 26% self-employed. 3% of people are claiming unemployment of this 22% are aged 18-24.
  • The median annual earnings for people living in the area is £19,900.
  • Education – 16% have no qualifications, 56% have achieved a qualification below NVQ Level 4 and 28% have achieved a qualification higher than NVQ Level 4.
  • Religious Beliefs – 40% are Catholic, 55% are Protestant, 1% have other religion and 5% have no religion.
  • Political Opinion – 49% are Unionist, 35% are Nationalist and 16% are Independent
  • Marital Status – 53% are married, 35% are single, 6% are divorced and 7% are widowed
  • Racial Group – 91% identify are being from NI, 5% from rest of UK and the remainder from outside UK

Sources: 2011 UK Census and Invest NI Council Area Briefing 2019 

 

If the response to Section 3A was YES GO TO Section 4A.
 
 
3E. Please explain why no steps were taken by the Public Authority to identify the social and economic needs of people in rural areas?
N/A
 
 
 
SECTION 4 -
Considering the Social and Economic Needs of Persons in Rural Areas
 
 
4A. Please provide details of the issues considered in relation to the social and economic needs of people in rural areas.

For this strategy, Council has considered the geographical make-up of the Borough and the needs of those in remote, rural areas who will require an upgrade to their digital connectivity and skillsets.  Indeed, there are some areas within the Borough that have no digital connectivity or digital skills at all, leading to an increased sense of isolation.  

As this strategy will not cost the residents of the Borough any money, the outcome of a coherent roll-out plan will only be beneficial to all the stakeholders.

 

 
 
 
 
SECTION 5 -
Influencing the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service
 
 
5A. Has the development, adoption, implementation or revising of the Policy, Strategy or Plan, or the design or delivery of the Public Service, been influenced by the rural needs identified?
Yes   ☒        No    ☐        If the response is NO GO TO Section 5C.
 
 
5B. Please explain how the development, adoption, implementation or revising of the Policy, Strategy or Plan, or the design or delivery of the Public Service, has been influenced by the rural needs identified.

Council has identified the need for improved broadband connections in rural areas, this strategy will enable Council to develop a coherent plan for the roll-out of FFNI and Project Stratum within these areas.  Council has also identified a need for upskilling to take place in relation to digital applications, enabling those in rural areas to remain connected.  Council had employed a consultancy firm to provide expertise and engagement with the community.  

Council will continually review the progress of the roll-out plan and if necessary, will engage with key stakeholders to ensure that all their needs are being fully catered for.

 

If the response to Section 5A was YES GO TO Section 6A.
 
 
5C. Please explain why the development, adoption, implementation or revising of the Policy, Strategy or Plan, or the design or the delivery of the Public Service, has NOT been influenced by the rural needs identified.
N/A
 
 
SECTION 6 -
Documenting and Recording
 
 
6A. Please tick below to confirm that the RNIA Template will be retained by the Public Authority and relevant information on the Section 1 activity compiled in accordance with paragraph 6.7 of the guidance.
I confirm that the RNIA Template will be retained and relevant information compiled.    ☒  
 
 
Rural Needs Impact Assessment undertaken by: Business Support Assistant 
Division/Branch Prosperity and Place
Date: 13 January 2021
 
 
Rural Needs Impact Assessment approved by: Strategic Project Manager
Division/Branch Prosperity and Place
Date: 29 January 2021