CAB stall set up in laneway of HomeGround, Auckland City Mission

Thursday 16 February 2023

Supporting the CAB campaign for inclusive public services

Did you know that the most commonly asked question at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) is “How can I get an appointment at WINZ?” This is because appointments at WINZ (Work and Income New Zealand) must be booked online or by phone which is not an option for people without a phone, laptop or email account.

It is an issue that pops up every day at Te Tāpui Atawhai as many of our clients do not have access to technology. And it’s why we support the CAB’s campaign for digital inclusion.

During the past few years, CAB volunteers have seen the negative consequences of government services shifting online and other avenues for accessing help disappearing.

Access to government services is a human right. And many of these services are particularly important for already-marginalised groups within the community: people with disabilities, Māori and Pacific Peoples, older people, and those for whom English is not a first language.

Within a three-month period, CAB volunteers recorded 4,379 client interactions where digital exclusion was identified, more than 1000 instances every week.

Analysis reveals that digital exclusion is experienced across age demographics, challenging the assumption that it’s mostly older people who struggle with online interaction and it’s a problem that will self-resolve in time.

While online services can dramatically improve the experience of those who engage digitally, services need to be designed and provided in ways that accommodate everyone, including those who are not online.

You can support the CAB’s campaign for inclusive public services both as an individual or as part of an organisation. For more information, click here.