In our manifesto we committed to ensuring that digital assistance is always available to those not online in the delivery of online Government services. All services will have a means of access for those not able to use the online service.
I am encouraged by my right hon. Friend’s answer. He rightly continues to improve access to Government services online; will he ensure that that is done in a way that avoids excluding or disadvantaging those who, for whatever reason, are unable to access such services?
I am able to give my hon. Friend that reassurance. We have travelled a great distance in the past six years, and access to online services is immeasurably better now than back in 2010. But we want to make sure that everyone is able to gain access to Government services and will provide alternative routes to them if they cannot do so online.
The Minister will know that online access has to be of the highest quality. The experience of some Departments has not been very reassuring. There are very talented people on the autism spectrum who are very good at this; will the Minister look at recruiting many of them to help make online services better?
The hon. Gentleman is right to point to former failures of accessibility in online services; direct.gov.uk was appalling for accessibility. We now make sure that all services are accessible by design, but I will repeat his comments to the Government Digital Service for its interest.
We are already the world leader. We have the finest Government digital services in the world. It is not just us saying that but comparable organisations around the world. But we can still do better, and there is a great deal that I want to do. I urge my hon. Friend to look out for the forthcoming strategy on this precise matter.