Digital Spend Control: guide

The Digital Spend Control service is tasked with driving the smartest investment in digital and technology projects within government.


The Digital Spend Control service is tasked with enabling the smartest investment in digital and technology projects within government. The work undertaken by the service will embed digital thinking and effective delivery models at the conceptual stage of a portfolio, programme or project. This will allow for consultation and upskilling prior to any large scale financial commitments being made.

The work carried out by the service will initially focus on core SG digital spend activities. As the service matures, and established data collection methods are refined over time, the scope will be extended to include all central government organisations listed in the Technology Assurance Framework.

A new service for Scotland

Scotland’s future will be forged in a digital world - a world in which data and digital technologies will transform every aspect of people’s work and personal lives.

To make sure we are all in the best position to take advantage of the benefits that digital transformation can bring, it is important to take action now. This will allow us to encourage digital thinking and investment to take place in a more effective way and in a timely manner.

To help support this digital transformation and get things right first time, we will launch a new Digital Spend Control service (DSC service or ‘the service’) in 2022.

Specifically it will:

The new service aims to help government and public bodies chart the best route through the unprecedented opportunities that digital can deliver. The service will also allow users to:

  • driving financial efficiencies
  • develop knowledge, understanding and digital skills
  • collaborate within strong professional communities
  • develop digital leadership capability
  • improve their organisations level of digital maturity

Purpose of the service

The Digital Spend Control service will soft launch in February 2022, working with a team in government to trial the service before a full launch later in 2022. The service’s remit will drive the smartest investment in digital within government and across a wide range of public bodies and as a result will:

  • reduce duplication of work
  • encourage the sharing best practice
  • help us all to learn and grow our levels of digital awareness
  • be efficient and get the best digital value for the money we spend
  • reduce start-up and lifetime costs
  • free up capital to invest in other priorities
  • get it right first time for Scotland

Our core mission is to drive the smartest investment in digital and, in doing so, embed architectural, commercial and operational excellence within the Scottish public sector.

Enabling digital government

The service has been established to support and meet the recommendations from the recent Audit Scotland report “Enabling Digital Government”. 

The service will contribute to the delivery of the following recommendations from the report:

  • the need for government and public bodies to work together to build a successful digital government
  • understanding how much public money is being invested across the public sector to achieve the strategy’s actions, or what is needed to fully deliver on its ambition
  • the requirement to develop cross-sectoral forums to plan, share knowledge and identify how different programmes interact
  • a recognition that the Scottish Government should play a leading role in identifying common platforms for use across the public sector
  • a need to plan for the future by anticipating levels of increased demand for new digital skills

Meeting the challenges of the future

The service will help to meet future challenges, and by doing so will ensure that expenditure on digital and technology conforms to the principles of Duty of Best Value, as defined by the Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM). 

It will do this by:

  • engaging at the business justification stage of planned expenditure
  • enabling early visibility to allow more time for planning and resourcing the demand for new digital skills
  • driving better choices at the outset and ensuring alignment to the digital strategy and broader policy goals
  • enabling us to more effectively prioritise the projects that will have the biggest cross government impact
  • identifying opportunities for collaboration, innovation and reduction in duplication



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