Terms of Reference


1. Digital technology has changed our lives significantly in the past few decades and will continue to do so. Government agencies and businesses are moving towards providing goods, services and information through online platforms.

2. The COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked this trend, as well as amplifying the role digital engagement plays in New Zealanders’ daily lives. In addition to increasing the need to undertake key transactions online (for example grocery shopping or paying bills), periods of lockdown also saw many New Zealanders moving social connections with friends and family online.

3. Older people have been identified as a digitally disadvantaged group. They are less likely to be able to afford a device or internet connection and to keep up with changes in technology. Some people in these groups may have the means to be online but lack the skills to carry out online transactions safely with trust and confidence. Research  shows that that: 

• internet use/access diminishes with age. Up to 25% of people aged 65 and over do not have access to the internet. This figure rises to 35% for people aged 75 and over.

 • a significant proportion of older people are much less likely to have essential digital skills – 33% of people aged 60-69 lack essential digital skills, this increases to 50% for those aged 70-79, and 79% for those aged 80 and over.

• confidence in using digital devices also diminishes with age – 90% of people reported being confident using digital devices, reducing to 81% for those aged 60-69, 69% for those aged 70-79, and 67% for those aged 80 and over.

4. Digital inclusion is a priority action of the Better Later Life He Oranga Kaumātua Action Plan 2021 to 2024.

5. The Office for Seniors (the Office) has been leading a digital literacy training initiative for older people, and exploring ways and partnership opportunities to improve digital inclusion for older people. 

6. Providers have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Office to work collaboratively to increase the reach, impact, quality, and consistency of the digital literacy training programmes for older people. 

7. The objective of the MoU is for the Office to provide a single point of information for digital literacy training providers and older people to engage in digital literacy programmes that use the Essential Digital Literacy/Skills (EDS) evaluation framework. This will enable:

 • older people to find providers that partner with the Office to provide quality EDS digital literacy training programmes

• providers to collaborate with other digital literacy training providers, including building knowledge of other providers’ offerings 

• further potential partnership opportunities. 

8. These providers and the Office have agreed that a Digital Inclusion Action Group for Older People be established. 


9. The purpose of the Digital Inclusion Action Group for Older People (the Action Group) is to expand the reach of digital inclusion initiatives so that all older people get the support they need to engage in the digital world.


10. The objectives of the Action Group are to:

demonstrate leadership in the provision of digital inclusion opportunities for older people

champion older people’s voice in digital inclusion

explore partnership opportunities with organisations delivering other services to older people

seek funding from government, businesses and philanthropists to expand the reach of digital inclusion initiatives for older people 

work collaboratively with providers of digital inclusion services. 


11. Membership of the Action Group is voluntary and by agreement of existing members. It intends to bring together a diverse range of representatives from organisations that are developing or implementing digital inclusion initiatives with a focus on older people. Membership of the Action Group is to be held by an organisation rather than by an individual.

Eligibility and joining the Action Group

12. To be eligible for Membership of the Action Group, organisations should demonstrate that they are taking credible and tangible steps towards enabling and supporting older people to be digitally included.

13. There is no cost to become a member of the Action Group. Organisations can join the Action Group by talking to the Office and potentially, where appropriate signing an MoU with the Office to use the EDS evaluation framework.

Expectations of membership and Action Group values

14. The Action Group is expected to work best if all members align their initiatives with the following agreed values:

 • Whakawhānaungatanga

We proactively build relationships with one another and seek to understand each other’s perspectives. 


We share ideas, experiences and information with each other to learn and grow. Everybody has something valuable to contribute to the community of practice.


As leaders of this work with our communities we take responsibility for improving digital inclusion for older people. We positively promote programmes developed and implemented by members of the Action Group and are willing to engage with others about our work.


We make people feel welcome. We are respectful of one another and engage with each other in ways that are constructive and supportive. 

• Tika me te pono

We act with integrity and professionalism. We recognise and acknowledge the work of others and we keep sensitive information shared within the Action Group private.

Roles and responsibilities

15. The Office will facilitate the Action Group in partnership with members. The Office’s responsibilities include:

• liaising with members to understand their needs 

• working with members to support the achievement of the Action Group’s objectives

• organising and providing secretariat functions for Action Group meetings 

• developing the Action Group’s programmes and activities (in collaboration with members)

• promoting the Action Group’s work and connecting it to other stakeholders, including government agencies and businesses 

• facilitating funding opportunities for expanding digital inclusion initiatives for older people through government funding processes and partnerships with other organisations

• facilitating the preparation and promotion of an annual outcomes report 

• responding to queries of the Action Group including membership applications 

16. Members’ responsibilities include:

• attending the Action Group’s regular online/in-person meetings and discussions facilitated by a designated chair with the aim of meeting once per quarter

• committing to work collaboratively with other members to deliver quality services to meet the diverse needs of older people including applying client-centred practices

• sharing updates, newsletters, and EDS framework evaluation results 

• keeping information about their organisation up to date. They will let the Office know if there are any changes.


17. These Terms of Reference will be reviewed in March 2023, and every 12 months thereafter.

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