Public Services > Devolved

Scottish government prepares for national digital strategy refresh

Neil Merrett Published 22 February 2017

Revised plans for digital initiatives will outline renewed data commitments and consider potential focus for collaboration across wider public sector


The Scottish Government expects to “shortly” publish an update of its national digital strategy setting out the latest aims for digital services and data use, as well as the potential for wider public sector collaboration.

With its previous national strategy for digital initiatives published back in 2011, Holyrood has argued that its refreshed ICT plan will be based on advice from the public, technology industry and academia.

As well as setting out the direction for the provision of devolved services in the country, a spokesperson for the government argued there would also be an opportunity for collaboration across the public and private sectors.

This is expected to include opportunities to work alongside a chief digital officer position being set up to lead transformation planning for a majority of local councils in Scotland, as well as third sector and NHS authorities.

The announcement of the upcoming strategy launch follows the publication earlier this year of findings by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) on transforming digital public service delivery. The report called for a number of changes regarding the government's data sharing and project leadership.

Among core recommendations, the findings backed appointing a “high profile” digital leader to oversee national digital transformation and data initiatives, while setting out metrics, in conjunction with local government, to benchmark performance against broader digital aims.

The recommendations also included backing a ‘data bank’ mechanism to oversee data collection and storage to better ensure public trust in future initiatives.

In working to devise its latest digital strategy, the Scottish Government said it was working with partners like the SCDI.

 “Our Programme for Government, published in September 2016, outlined our commitment to refresh Scotland’s Digital Strategy,” said a spokesperson for the government.

“The refreshed strategy will be published shortly and will set out our plans for ensuring that the Scottish Government continues to access the best possible advice from industry, academia and the people of Scotland on the development of its digital agenda. Industry has been, and will continue to be, fully engaged in our transformation process.”

Holyrood has said that it sees digital transformation as being at the heart of public sector reforms across all of its ministerial portfolios.  In terms of present leadership, the government said that its Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution was leading on digital public service plans, with its Cabinet Security for the Rural Economy and Connectivity heading up connectivity focuses.

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