How we can further help

Our study and focus groups highlighted four key areas to help the over 70s use more public services online.

By further supporting, public service leaders can take positive steps in improving the overall experience, while also delivering cost-efficient services with a rapidly growing age group.


Tell them about new technology and services

While the over 70's have a high awareness of some services, for many others they do not. Those we talked to said, "they don't know what they are missing out on". We need to work together to better keep them aware of new technology and services they can use.

Did you know? - 57% of over 70 years olds are not aware they can give notice of a marriage or register a birth or death online.


Strengthen their online confidence

Like many citizens, the over 70s are very aware about privacy and data security issues. More should be done to help support them and improve their online confidence.

Did you know? - 58% of over 70s confirmed they see the benefit of fingerprint or facial recognition for improved security.


Better connectivity and ease-of-use

Digital exclusion is key challenge for our society. The continued roll-out of new infrastructure such as 5G can help improve connectivity across the UK. Over 70s also need digital services to be easy to use and none complicated. Those we talked to highlighted the overuse of icons and constant updates as points to consider for service designers.

Did you know? - 13% of the UK population is still not online. A figure that has not changed since 2014 (Ofcom, 2020).


Design services with their needs in mind

Our study found more needs to be done to include the over 70s more. Services should be designed with their needs in mind. The high awareness of technology and usage of line services should give leaders reassurance that technology can further support this age group.

Did you know? - Only 31% of public service leaders include the over 70s in service design.

The ‘stay at home’ messaging at the height of the recent pandemic has proved to us how well technology can work to try and help fill the emotional and practical void created by the lack of human interaction.”

Tony Hughes, Executive Director for Local Government, Civica


A Word from the Wise study methodology:

  • The A Word from the Wise citizen survey was conducted by independent market research specialist, Censuswide, on behalf of Civica. A total of 2,123 citizens over the age of 18 (including 1,001 aged 70 and over) from across the UK were surveyed in May 2020. 
  • A follow-on survey was also conducted in April 2021, with a further 1,015 citizens aged 70 and over surveyed across the UK 
  • The A Word from the Wise public sector leader survey was conducted by independent market research specialists, Censuswide, on behalf of Civica. A total of 120 public sector leaders (weighted for even spread of organisational type) across the UK were surveyed in May 2020 
  • The A Word from the Wise focus groups were held with UK citizens aged over 70 in Aberdeen, Bristol, Lisburn and Manchester during December 2019 
  • The citizen interview videos shared have been approved by the citizens who took part in our focus group