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The recently released Citizen’s Advice Bureau Report Face to Face With Digital Exclusion has some incredible findings.

As we move towards ‘ePlanning’ and RegTech frameworks we must remain mindful of those being left behind. This report highlights some obvious yet often overlooked barriers:

Lack of access to computers and internet. Not everyone spends most of the day, or even some of it, behind a computer screen like many professionals. We need to think about how people can continue to access planning documents offline.

Limited digital literacy. PDFs, spreadsheets and ePlans may be second nature to professionals but aren’t to everyone else. How do we communicate with people that can’t access information because of its format?

General literacy difficulties. Most planning documents are not dyslexic friendly. This includes the National Planning Standards, a lost opportunity to improve information accessibility.

Language barriers. I’ve never seen a District Plan written in any other language but English (but I stand to be corrected). However, there are literally tens of thousands of other language speakers.

Lack of desire to be online. I rarely see up to date information in community facilities (like libraries) or on community noticeboards because the people maintaining these resources don’t understand it. Not everyone gets their information in the same way.