LAUNCH OF NEW DIGITAL STRATEGY FOR SCOTLAND
A new strategy was launched yesterday (Thursday 11 March 2021), which sets out an ambitious vision to ensure Scotland thrives in a digital world.
The new Digital Strategy for Scotland, “A Changing Nation: How Scotland Will Thrive In A Digital World”, delivered by the Scottish Government, COSLA, the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government and the Improvement Service, sets out the role digital will play in recovering from coronavirus. It also showcases how the sector can work together to enable Scotland to fulfil its potential, facing the challenges and opportunities digital brings and ensuring the societal and economic wellbeing of the country and its people.
Digital technologies are transforming the way in which people live their lives across Scotland. They are helping to deliver better outcomes for people, and provide significant opportunities to improve essential public services. The coronavirus crisis has shown us that working digitally is more important than ever before and has driven fundamental changes, including how we work and how we interact socially. It has also shown that collaboration can achieve powerful results.
The production of the strategy has been a collaborative effort and for the first time, produced jointly by national and local government. To ensure it reflected the views and aspiration of the people of Scotland, a consultation was held on the draft strategy between September and December 2020. This included a number of dedicated thematic sessions for local government colleagues, delivered by the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government, COSLA and the Improvement Service. The consultation received more than 200 responses from every sector of society, with almost every response endorsing the vision and agreeing on the need for collaboration and innovation to deliver it.
Since then, a group made up of various representatives from the sector, worked together to produce this refreshed Digital Strategy for Scotland that enables a shared vision of a modern, digital and collaborative government, designed around people. While the publication of this strategy represents a significant milestone in this collaborative effort, its publication is only the beginning.
The Digital Strategy has three key themes: People and Place, A Strong Digital Economy and Digital Government and Services which are founded on embracing the opportunities of technology, the opportunities of data and the opportunities of a truly digital thinking to ensure that Scotland is recognised throughout the world as a digital nation.
Key programmes and outcomes within these themes focus on improving broadband connectivity, continuing to bring the digitally excluded online, increasing digital skills, helping businesses to work digitally, boosting the tech sector, and ensuring government services are designed around the people who use them.
Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer for the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government, said: "In the past year we have seen more than ever the urgency and need to have good joint digital and data solutions to help support our citizens, communities, economy and environment as well as solutions to tackle the 'digital divide'. Only through collaboration between local government and the Scottish Government are we going to make this happen and this joint strategy reflects that.
"The digital environment is extremely fast paced and will not wait for us. We must do our best to keep up with the pace of change, face the challenges headfirst and embrace the opportunities that it brings whilst also not forgetting those who are digitally excluded. Working together as one 'digital' public sector and as a country is the key to thriving in the digital world."
We will be exploring exactly what the strategy means for local government at our next Scottish Local Government Digital Partnership Forum, provisionally scheduled for Thursday 20 May. More details will be published in the coming weeks.
The Scottish Government will also be publishing a series of blogs over the next week looking at the three key themes of the strategy. Visit their digital blog.
For more information about the refreshed Digital Strategy, please contact the Scottish Government Digital Directorate Communications Team.
In addition to the new Digital Strategy for Scotland, a new AI Strategy for Scotland will be launched on the 22 March. For more information visit: https://www.scotlandaistrategy.com/.