Online Communities / Online Services
A transformation is taking place in how we communicate. Online media, smart devices, social media, blogging and texting are all new elements in how we engage with one another. It has the potential to reduce perceived distance and isolation. However, without the skills to engage with new technology, people can be further isolated and excluded.
Online Communication Skills Programmes
Engaging in the e-society requires a basic level of skill. There are people in our society who are at risk of being excluded during the technological transformation that is taking place as they don’t possess the necessary skills. Working with the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) and the Public Participation Network (PPN) in Galway, we will facilitate the transfer of these skills from e-literate members of communities to those who currently do not have the skills required to engage with the emerging e-society. Continued promotion of events and courses through the digital strategy website and the PPN will be maintained.
A recent report commissioned by the Department of Finance and published in December 2019, stated that greater economic rewards are to be achieved by the public by increased use of financial services on line.
One of the recommendations of this report was “development of initiatives by local authorities as part of digital strategies to assist individuals to apply online for banking services”. By providing more locations for people to get online through Galway County Council supported access networks and by also supporting information on cyber security awareness, we will be enabling the public to gain a greater level of confidence when using these services.
The possible isolation increased connectivity and migration of services on line could bring to certain members of the community is a concern. Through promoting awareness of training events on digital skills for all people, young and old we will promote greater opportunities to create connections and links, but we should also be open to investigate new ways technology can deliver a greater sense of cooperation and community.
Publicly Accessible Broadband
Broadband is available at numerous locations throughout County Galway such as public Library services. A number of strategic locations or BCPs have been identified for the delivery of high-speed broadband service where no such service currently exists. Under the NBP these locations will be serviced with a high-speed connection. BCPs are located in different types of facilities across the county and Galway County Council will support BCP operators in making the most of this new connectivity for the facility and their community.
Galway County Council will look at ways to transfer more of its services online in the future. To aid this migration of services, Digital Champions will be appointed for each directorate of Galway County Council, who will not only drive the migration to increased digital services provision, but also look for ways to improve the services we currently deliver online.
Our aim is to maximise the potential of technology to enable older and vulnerable people live independent lives within their communities. This will mean using technology to tailor our service provision to meet their needs.
Online Health Services
Increasingly primary care is being centralised to large urban centres, imposing health commuting requirements on those engaging with health services. With advances in medical technology, the need for many of these journeys can be reduced with the consequential reduction of stress on already sensitive people. We will work with the HSE to explore the potential advances that can be made here.
The development of ubiquitous broadband services throughout County Galway will create the potential to deliver a greater level of public services online across the fields of healthcare, education, independent living and regulatory services.