Digital Strategy Consultation – Transforming Government
We recently introduced a consultation for the new Digital Strategy for Scotland and highlighted why it is so important for people across the country to have their voices heard. This is the third blog in a short series taking a look at the key themes raised within the strategy and why digital transformation of public services is more important now than ever.
The coronavirus crisis has reminded us all how vital our public services are and in times of radical change, how we need to work together to make them as accessible, efficient and adaptable as we can. While digital transformation has been at the heart of digital policy in the Scottish Government for a number of years, the recent pace of change has seen the public sector digital landscape evolve radically in a short space of time, which, while challenging, has also presented significant opportunities.
To build on this momentum and to further promote the benefits of digital transformation, the updated strategy discussion document outlines a number of potential actions. These actions range from promoting culture change around our digital working practices, working with our partners and organisations to encourage operational efficiency and deliver greener services, to pooling digital and data expertise across the public sector, accelerating delivery of digital skills that we need both now and in the future and developing new flexible commercial models.
While there is still work to be done in ensuring we deliver our digital transformation agenda, it is also important to recognise progress that has already been made in this area. The discussion document includes a number of case studies that showcase important work already taking place across the country. The Digital Office for Scottish Local Government was set up in 2016 following the establishment of a partnership known as the Local Government Digital Transformation Partnership. The Digital Partnership provides a novel mechanism that allows councils to collaborate on digital transformation. The Digital Office provides a range of services such as sector-wide digital leadership, capacity building, delivers a broad range of sector-wide programmes and projects, and provides technical assurance of sector-wide digital initiatives on behalf of the partnership.
Another recent example involved collaboration between Police Scotland and the Scottish Digital Academy. Police Scotland approached the academy to help them address the many complex and rapidly changing challenges they faced in delivering a service for citizens in a digital age. They had identified that the adoption of agile ways of working was necessary to enable digital transformation in a customer-focussed organisation, and were keen that the Academy help build their agile capability. This has resulted in practical improvements in real time information to Police Officers on the ground. They are now able to receive information faster, which allows them to perform their duties to the same levels of accuracy. This is now being rolled out across Scotland.
The pandemic has reminded us why digital transformation of public services can play a crucial role in tackling social and economic uncertainty now and in the future. We hope that the actions laid out in the updated strategy will guide Scotland towards being a truly digital nation and one that is built around the needs of its people.