Realising Scotland’s full potential in a digital world: A digital strategy for Scotland

April 13, 2017 by No Comments | Category Digital Scotland

Have you seen the Scottish Government’s updated Digital Strategy yet? We’ve been busy since the publication of the 2011 original, “Scotland’s Digital Future: A Strategy for Scotland”, and we’ve made significant progress against the ambitions set out there. Through improvements in infrastructure, fibre broadband has been delivered to 85% of Scottish premises and in digital participation we now enjoy the highest level of basic digital skills in the UK. As part of the public service reform agenda, we have launched initiatives such as Revenue Scotland, the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) and the site; and economic growth has been stimulated with schemes such as Digital Boost and the Google Digital Garage (many delivered in partnership with digital businesses and our Enterprise and Skills agencies).

A constantly changing and ever expanding digital landscape
While we’ve been doing all this over the past six years, the nature of digital and our understanding of the opportunities it provides were evolving and changing. We are living in an increasingly connected world which is transforming how we live our lives. And these changes demand that we challenge our ways of thinking about how we develop and deliver services.

A new digital strategy
The Government recently launched “Realising Scotland’s Full Potential in a Digital World”, which is an updating and ‘refreshing’ of that original 2011 Strategy. It describes plans for putting digital at the heart of everything that Government does, in order to:

  • Deliver inclusive economic growth;
  • Reform public services;
  • Tackle inequalities and empower communities;
  • Prepare our children, and existing workforce, for the workplace of the future.

How does it differ?
The main difference from the 2011 strategy is that it covers all of Scotland, not just the Scottish Government: it requires collective action. Given the increased pace of change, we’ve also been clear from the outset that this is a dynamic set of proposals that will evolve and change over time.

The vision and themes
The Government’s vision, articulated in the strategy, is clear – it is for Scotland to be recognised as a vibrant, inclusive, open and outward-looking digital nation that:

  • Delivers economic growth by stimulating innovation and investment, supporting digital technologies industries in particular, and developing digitally mature businesses across all sectors (the overall aim being that Scotland is seen as a premier destination to set up and conduct business);
  •  Shares and opens-up non personal data to facilitate public and private sector innovation;
  •  Reforms public services so they are truly joined-up, secure and modern; designed and delivered around the needs of their users, that are high quality and efficient (a world class digital Scotland requires a world class digital government and digital transformation is not just about providing public services on line. It is about providing services in ways that makes sense for users);
  •  Consolidates our infrastructure work so there is high quality connectivity across the whole of the country (digital should not be limited by where we chose to live or work);
  •  Builds upon existing work to improve Digital Skills to increase capabilities in education, tackle the current gender gaps, and promote diversity (which is key to economic success);
  •  Consolidates digital participation work so everybody can share in the social, economic and democratic opportunities of digital; and creates conditions in which we can support and safeguard concerns about the digital world;
  •  Aspires to be recognised as a world leader in cyber resilience, with a global reputation for being a secure place to work, learn and do business.

The Actions
The strategy contains a considerable number of actions on how we hope to achieve this and I encourage you to read these and consider what your business area needs to do to realise them.

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