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Digital Challenge

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 8 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether ethnic monitoring (a) has been and (b) will be undertaken in respect of Digital Challenge (i) shortlisted and (ii) successful bids; (98266)

(2) what steps she is taking to ensure ethnic minorities are fully involved in Digital Challenge bids;

(3) how many ethnic minority organisations are involved in Digital Challenge bids;

(4) what the criteria are for consideration of Digital Challenge bids.

Digital Challenge bids were shortlisted according to a number of criteria, including a focus on “socially excluded” groups. In evaluating bids, a focus on ethnic minority groups was not included as a specific criterion, as the effective use of ICT and benefits of digital inclusion cut across the sub-divisions of socially excluded populations including ethnic minority groups. Further information on the 79 proposals received and an analysis is available on the Digital Challenge website:

www.digitalchallenge.gov.uk.

The Digital Challenge Outline Prospectus made it clear to all bidders submitting proposals that bids should be inclusive and representative of their local communities. We have created an opportunity for organisations, including those representing ethnic minorities, to become engaged in the Digital Challenge process through the Digital Challenge Community Network (DCCN), an interdependent network for public, private, voluntary and academe to rise to the challenge of using ICT and innovation as enablers of digital and social inclusion. Further information on the network and the original prospectus are published on the Digital Challenge website.

It is not possible to definitively state the number of ethnic minority organisations involved in the Digital Challenge process. However, each of the remaining 10 bidders are actively engaging and working with ethnic minority organisations.

The full criteria for the Digital Challenge bids have been provided to all the 10 and are published on the Digital Challenge website at:

http://www.digitalchallenge.gov.uk/top-ten-finalists-1/top-ten-finalists-1/guidance-on-submitting-your-bid.