Voscur’s call to Government: The VCSE sector must be properly funded to keep service users safe online
The Government is planning to tighten regulation of the internet so that the UK is ‘the safest place in the world to be online’. This winter it put forward proposals that will, if implemented, require the cooperation of a broad range of stakeholders, spanning the public, private and third sectors. Read Voscur’s digest of the Government’s proposals here.
The consultation was open from 11th October to 7th December. Voscur submitted a response on behalf of Bristol’s VCSE sector, complemented by findings from a survey that was sent out to the Children and Young People and Health and Social Care Networks. Read the report here.
Introducing a social media levy
One of the Government’s proposals was to instate a ‘social media levy’ that would require online platforms to contribute to the funding of education, support and/or technological safeguards to reduce the risk of online harm to vulnerable people (e.g. cyber bullying, online racism, harassment and revenge porn).
A case for bringing funding to the sector
Voscur believes there is a strong case for building capacity in the VCSE sector around keeping people safe online. There are two strands to this: Firstly, in terms of replicating and rolling out more widely what is already being delivered by VCSE organisations (e.g. training and education in schools), and secondly: Empowering front-line VCSE staff to provide informal but vital support to vulnerable service-users around staying safe online and dealing with online abuse.
Voscur’s response to the consultation
We decided to respond to this consultation because we believe that a fair proportion of funds from a social media levy should reach the VCSE sector. Additionally, it is important that the Government capitalises on the unique level of access VCSE organisations have to vulnerable people – who traditionally might not engage with other agencies. In other words, if effective advice and support can be provided by a trusted VCSE organisation, we believe there could be a greater chance of preventing harm.