Decision details

Tackling Digital Poverty in Bristol

Decision Maker: Director: Education and Skills

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


This project is being set up to address digital poverty in Bristol, exacerbated by Covid 19, which means that people without digital devises, data and basic skills face significant barriers to education, training and employment – as well as access to wider services and social connections, particularly for more vulnerable people who are isolated as a result of shielding. In Bristol’s most deprived areas, where many people may have a mobile phone, there is anecdotal evidence that many households lack a computer, laptop or tablet, access to broadband, as well as the confidence and skills to fully utilise these digital devises.
To address this critical issue in a timely manner, Bristol City Council is proposing to allocate £250K Covid funding to cleanse and distribute recycled Council laptops to identified priority individuals, as well as providing data and support, so that recipients can gain the confidence and skills they need to get online safely and to improve their access to education, training and employment, as well as improved social contact and access to services.
As outlined above, in line with Council policy, this decision falls within criteria for Officer Executive Decision Records.
This has been identified as an OED as the decision involves a resource commitment of between £100,000 and £499,999 and has not been deemed to be a key decision by virtue of its significant impact on two or more wards.


To authorise the allocation of £250,000 Covid funding to the Tackling Digital Poverty in Bristol project so that recycled BCC laptops can be cleansed and distributed to priority individuals experiencing digital poverty, exacerbated as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Alternative options considered:

A decision to reuse and recycle between 3-4000 Bristol City Council laptops has already been approved. Bristol Waste Company has secured a contract to carry out laptop cleansing and to manage the distribution of the kit through a commercial process involving the sale of lap tops to the public.
A subsequent decision has been taken to find funding from a range of sources to cover the cost of the Bristol Waste Service, and to target laptops to priority individuals most in need of a digital devise, data and support to get access to services on line. This means that there is only one option being considered.

Publication date: 04/01/2021

Date of decision: 29/12/2020