Connecting Scotland programme: full business case

Final full business case for the next phase of the Connecting Scotland programme.

7 Management case

7.1 Introduction

The purpose of the management dimension of the business case is to demonstrate that robust arrangements are in place for the delivery, monitoring and evaluation of the scheme, including feedback into the organisation’s strategic planning cycle.

Demonstrating that the preferred option can be successfully delivered requires evidencing that the scheme is being managed in accordance with best practice, subjected to independent assurance and that the necessary arrangements are in place for change and contract management, benefits realisation and risk management.

7.2 Approach for Connecting Scotland

The Management Case details arrangements for the programme of work necessary to take forward the proposed service delivery models. It sets out a delivery plan, milestones, project planning methodology, governance structures, staffing, risk management, communications and stakeholder management, benefits realisation and assurance mechanisms. It demonstrates that robust arrangements are in place for the delivery, monitoring and evaluation of the scheme.

It describes the way in which the project team and governance arrangements have functioned to date and recommends how these should scale and change to accommodate the next stage of development over the next five years and beyond.

All these points present a clear, agreed understanding of what needs to be done, when and how, with measures in place to identify and manage any risks and benefits for the longer term.

Key decisions will be required to ascertain what the longer-term mechanisms will be for delivering the programme as an ongoing concern. Decisions regarding who is responsible for managing and delivering the programme will affect how governance and delivery models will need to evolve. The management case will therefore take an agnostic approach, able to flex accordingly according to the model chosen for Connecting Scotland.

7.3 Progress up to this point

For Phase One-Three of the Programme, procurement of devices and data was undertaken by SCVO, funded by Scottish Government via the Grant Funding mechanism. A Scottish Government programme team provided programme management and oversight, supported by several organisations on a voluntary basis.

For future delivery, the Programme team within Scottish Government and delivery team in SCVO may need to scale or adapt, depending on decisions taken about the mode of delivery, level of support provision and application routes.

7.4 Project team

The Resourcing approach undertaken in previous phases could be continued, i.e., the programme is delivered by SCVO with Scottish Government providing the funding, programme management and oversight. If a different operating model is chosen, other options will be explored as appropriate.

The size of the SG project team for the delivery of Connecting Scotland will be dependent on decisions around the operating model. Staffing requirements for options 2 and 3 are outlined below:

  • Senior Reporting Officer (SRO)
  • Reporting to the SRO, a Programme Director (C2) 1 WTE
  • Four teams reporting to the Programme Director: programme management office (PMO), strategy, research and evaluation, and communications.
  • PMO:
    • Programme Manager (C1) 1 WTE
    • Project Delivery Manager (B2) 1 WTE
    • Kick Starter Placement (A4) 1 WTE
  • Strategy:
    • Policy lead (C1) 1 WTE
    • Commercial lead (C1) 0.5 WTE
  • Research and evaluation:
    • User Research lead (C1) 1 WTE
    • Senior Research lead (C1) 0.8 WTE
    • Social Researcher (B3) 1 WTE
    • Data Analyst (B2) 0.5 WTE
    • Senior Service Designer (B3) 1 WTE
  • Communications:
    • Communications manager (B2)

This forms the core multidisciplinary team with responsibility for overseeing the Connecting Scotland Programme, managing procurement, measuring programme benefits and reporting on progress to ministers.

At present, the Programme is supported in delivery by SCVO who manage the application and allocation process, CRM (Customer Relations Manager), skills and training delivery and ongoing support to recipients.

The SCVO delivery team for the delivery of Connecting Scotland has the following structure:

  • Director of Development 0.8 FTE
  • Head of Digital and Development 0.6 FTE
  • Two teams reporting to Head of Digital and Development, Digital Participation and Service Delivery and Improvement
  • Digital Participation:
    • Digital participation manager 0.5 FTE
    • Digital inclusion development officers 2.3 FTE
  • Service Delivery and Improvement:
    • Service Delivery and Improvement Manager 1 FTE
    • CS – Administrator 0.75 FTE
    • CS – Administrator 1 FTE
    • CS – Helpdesk Adviser 1 FTE
    • CS – Helpdesk Advisor 1 FTE

Past funding for SCVO is detailed previously in this paper, under the Commercial Case - Breakdown of Costs associated with the services provided by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

7.5 Timescales

The FBC will be completed by the end of Q4 2022/23, to allow Connecting Scotland to move to its next phase in late Spring 2023. Proof of concept projects, partner programmes and support to Ukrainian displaced people continued throughout 2022.

A full project plan for the next phase, including milestones and deliverables, will be produced once decisions have been made around funding and the operating model.

7.6 Change management

Connecting Scotland is already actively being managed through a period of change, with the development of this FBC a pivotal part of this process. The operating models outlined in the Socioeconomic Case all require different amounts of transition and measures will be built into project and communications plans as soon as a decision has been made on the future of Connecting Scotland.

In the interim, ongoing engagement with stakeholders is managing expectations and supporting relationships so that the programme team can act quickly to move things forward once they are able to do so.

If the launch of a new entity or model is not successful, contingency plans would involve closure of the Connecting Scotland service, as outlined in option 1 of the models section in the Socioeconomic Case.

7.7 Governance and Management of the Programme

  • A core multidisciplinary Programme Team with skills in Programme Management, User-Centred Design, supplier management and specific subject matter expertise will run Connecting Scotland as part of the Digital Directorate’s Digital Citizen Unit.
  • A Delivery Team will be provisioned by SCVO to supply subject matter expertise and to manage the application process, allocation of equipment, communications activities, training and ongoing support for the programme.
  • A Programme Governance Board with regular, focused sessions to provide strategic steer and to be an ultimate point of escalation will also continue to oversee the programme. Senior representatives from client organisations will be represented on the board.
  • An Advisory Board – will meet as needed to provide advice and guidance to the management of the Connecting Scotland programme, and to ensure that available knowledge and insights in this area are incorporated into decision making.
  • A Strategy/Delivery Board consisting of senior members of the programme and delivery teams will meet regularly to ensure progress remains on track and outcomes align with strategic objectives, the SG Digital Strategy for Scotland and the Connecting Scotland vision.
  • The Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) will be the Head of the Digital Citizen Unit and accountable for successful delivery of the Connecting Scotland programme. Where risks or issues mean that decisions previously made by Ministers can no longer be delivered within the resources available, the SRO must escalate this to Ministers.
  • The Minister for Small Business, Trade, and Innovation will have ultimate decision-making powers. The SRO will ratify decisions before they go to the Minister for approval.
  • Commercial suppliers will be used to supply the means of connectivity or equipment as needed.
  • Engagement with public sector organisations, users and citizens will continue to collect user insights.

7.7.1 Governance structure

The Programme has the following Governance Structure:

  • Ministerial oversight
  • Programme Governance Board, reporting to Ministers
  • Additional Strategy/Delivery and Advisory boards that meet underneath and inform the Programme Governance Board
  • Reporting to the boards are Agile workstreams for delivery of the Connecting Scotland service:
    • Service Delivery Model
    • Pilot Models
    • Commercial and research
    • Communications and Governance
    • Programme Benefits
    • Training and support

7.7.2 Governance principles

Our governance works under the following principles, based on the experience of other similar groups and examples of best practice across government:

  • The default position of governance is to trust individuals and give decision-making authority to teams so they can focus on delivering.
  • Successful governance is not just about having processes, but about how governance processes and tools are used to achieve desired outcomes.
  • There should be a single political and official point of accountability for the Connecting Scotland Programme
  • The terms of reference for all governance bodies are explicit and clear, avoiding overlap.
  • Governance functions bring executive experience and technical expertise to hold the team to account.
  • The number of governance boards is kept to a minimum.
  • Governance boards should expect to review artefacts that are not always conventional papers, e.g., prototypes of live services.
  • Frequency and a familiarity with detail are essential.

7.8 Project methodology

The Programme will run using agile methodology to reduce risk, ensure end products meet user needs and to allow staff to work flexibly, making best use of the expertise within the team. This methodology also aligns best with the governance principles outlined above, the Scottish Approach to Service Design and In the Service of Scotland.

7.9 Evaluating and measuring the benefits of the new programme

Effective benefits measurement and programme evaluation are crucial to ensure the sustainability of a future Connecting Scotland programme. Being able to continually track outcomes will ensure that Connecting Scotland delivers against policy goals, provides value for money and creates the evidence base needed for continuous improvement.

The main aims of the benefits measurement approach will be: 

  • to contribute to measurable outcomes for the policy goals that Connecting Scotland is enabling. Initially these will be improved outcomes for the 6 priority family groups
  • to provide evidence of a broad range of benefits realised for users, public sector services and the economy.
  • to feedback who is being served by the programme relative to demographics of digital exclusion to find gaps in the programme’s provision and target future provision
  • to maximise the use of linked data from multiple sources from within the programme and correlate these with existing datasets (e.g., SIMD data) to generate insight to target the programme’s resources most efficiently.
  • to be tailored for different models of Connecting Scotland delivery
  • to be proportional to scope and ambition of the programme and delivered in collaboration with other policy-specific research initiatives to avoid duplication of effort.

7.9.1 Benefits realisation 

Benefits are realised by Connecting Scotland users over time as they gain confidence, acquire skills, access support, solve problems, engage with online services and achieve tangible improvement to their lives. This is encapsulated in the idea of a Connecting Scotland ‘user journey’ based on the stages of ‘enabling’, ‘progressing’ and ‘realising’ as shown below:

Step 1: Enabling

Short term outcomes that inform us that Connecting Scotland has reached target users who have received devices and internet connectivity, which are actively being used and the clients are linked to support.

We know:

  • Who our users are.
  • That they have received a device and are connected.
  • That they can use the device.
  • That they are supported.
  • That they are linked into services and can access information.

Step 2: Progressing

Medium term outcomes that inform us that clients are gaining confidence, accessing support and training, solving problems and gaining skills.

We can show that users are:

  • Gaining in digital confidence
  • Gaining digital competencies
  • Accessing information
  • Accessing health/mental health services
  • Access financial advice
  • Learning how to be safe online
  • Gaining awareness of benefits entitlement and the skills to apply
  • Improving their employability
  • Linking into community
  • Linked into social networks.

Step 3: Realising

Long term outcomes which inform us that clients have gained additional income through benefits and employment, gained qualifications, and improved their household finances.

We can show that users have:

  • Applied for and received a benefit.
  • Applied for a job.
  • Gained employment.
  • Accessed childcare.
  • Expanded their working hours.
  • Accessed local authority school clothing grant.
  • Attended a college course.
  • Gained a qualification.

Framing our evaluation approach around the user journey has several advantages as it allows us to: 

  • see the dependencies between benefits and understand when a benefit will start to be realised.
  • demonstrate impact for all users, including those whose journey progresses more slowly. 
  • share evaluation activities with policy teams who may already be measuring intervention end points (long term outcomes) 
  • develop a systematic way of prioritising which outcomes to measure which give the clearest picture of the cost-effectiveness of the programme and the impact for users and society.

7.9.2 Approach to measuring benefits 

Our existing evaluation framework involves a sequence of welcome surveys, interviews and impact surveys delivered throughout a client’s time with Connecting Scotland and is detailed below.

When devices are allocated:

  • Baseline data is captured about our customers in terms of who they are and where they are from

Welcome survey when devices are received:

  • Survey to understand the customers digital skill level when they join Connecting Scotland and what they want to achieve.

In-depth interviews around 6 months after device received:

  • Interviews to understand what benefits customers are realising from being part of Connecting Scotland.

Impact survey 9 months after device received:

  • Survey to learn what has changed for the customer because of the help that they have received from Connecting Scotland.

While providing valuable evidence of the effectiveness of the original programme, this approach also had several drawbacks, including:

  • relatively low completion rates for surveys which lowered the robustness of the evidence for the effectiveness of the programme,
  • difficulty tracking long term outcomes – i.e., what might have materially changed for users because of their involvement with the programme
  • anonymous participation prevented direct linkage between baseline and impact surveys and so prevented direct comparison.

We continually reviewed and improved our research approach during phase three, adding in elements like a telephone top up survey to counter any systematic bias from using digital survey methods. We also conducted a retrospective on our research and evaluation activities to identify barriers to user participation. Based on these lessons, we recommend that that future benefits and evaluation approach should:

1. have the right foundation and drivers

  • be founded on complete, accurate and timely client information
  • be founded on comprehensive baseline user demographic data 
  • be driven by the prompt analysis of key baseline data and have findings continually feed into service improvement
  • be driven by well-defined and agreed benefits measures set up prior to delivery, initially focussing on the 6 priority family groups
  • show how users realise benefits from the Connecting Scotland programme so that we know the contribution the programme makes in relation to other factors
  • base evaluation on a ‘logic model’ that describes how benefits are realised for each user group or set of outcomes supported by the programme (see figure below for a logic model underpinning child poverty drivers).

2. be able to quantify the improvement that connecting Scotland delivers

  • have a measurable baseline for each benefit so that improvements can be assessed. 
  • have the right governance and data infrastructure in place to support the linkage and analysis of multiple datasets, and the ability to compare individual user progress over time
  • have an interdisciplinary approach to the commissioning, design, execution and analysis of the research including meaningful access to data analysis, economic and statistical expertise

3. have a commitment to co-design

  • involve current and potential Connecting Scotland users and partners in the design of its services, defining benefits and sense-making of its research data 
  • have the right skills and resources to carry out meaningful citizen and stakeholder engagement
  • have the capacity to be innovative and responsive to emergent research challenges 

4. maximise engagement in research 

  • align research and evaluation activities with a strong Connecting Scotland brand identity and comms strategy to motivate participation
  • have research built more seamlessly into the service model and future Connecting Scotland touchpoints to increase opportunities and motivation for participation 
  • ensure service level agreements are in place with delivery partners that specify data quality targets and responsibilities for evaluation tasks
  • provide multiple channels for clients to engage in research and evaluation to ensure robust and representative evidence
  • capture users’ preferences for participation and provide means to take part that are flexible, and which support a range of levels of engagement
  • make it easy for support workers, carers and relatives to aid the user to take part in research and evaluation activities
  • support engagement from digitally excluded, vulnerable and hard to reach groups by providing convenient, accessible and inclusive methods of participation 
  • have research and evaluation as part a key element of a Charter for the new Connecting Scotland programme as a responsibility on users and partners to engage with research where they can 

5. build relationships 

  • disseminate findings about the programme’s achievements and challenges amongst the community of stakeholders and users in Connecting Scotland as a way of fostering confidence in and engagement with the service

7.9.3 Example logic model for outcomes related to digital inclusion and Child Poverty

For programme options that include delivering a service to clients (options 3 through 5) via device pools or libraries and pools of connectivity in conjunction with access to digital skills then evaluation and benefits will be like the existing Connecting Scotland programme. The model below shows how Connecting Scotland’s service (the inputs) can lead to positive outcomes for individuals. The outcomes identified can contribute to the ‘drivers’ of tackling child poverty; increased income from employment, increased income from social security and reduced cost of living, as well as improving aspects of health and wellbeing that can ultimately enhance people’s prospects.


  • Digital Devices
  • Connectivity
  • Digital Skills Support
  • Resources: Time, money, people (inc. stakeholders & delivery partners)
  • Communications
  • Eligibility, Applications, Referrals
  • Device distribution and Connectivity
  • Provision of digital skills support
  • Comms strategy (reach, channels, clarity)
  • Application/ targeting process
  • Device delivery service
  • Connectivity to a network
  • Sustainable support model: Digital champions, helpline, online resources
Outcomes (short term)
  • People know about CS and its aims
  • Devices go to those with greatest need
  • Devices and support reach as many people as the service can support
  • Right equipment delivered to the right person, on time
  • People can set up and use devices
  • People know about the digital skills support offer
  • People understand the benefits of having devices and support
Outcomes (medium term)
  • Regular use of device
  • Accessing information and advice online
  • Enhanced self-perceived wellbeing
  • Accessing services
  • Using device for school/ college/university work
  • Increased (or gained new) digital skills
  • Pursuing personal/ leisure interests online
  • Finding easier ways of doing day-to-day activities
  • Positive engagement with digital support (where needed)
  • Idiosyncratic online use
  • Searching for, and researching, jobs
  • Using Ecommerce and online banking
Outcomes (long term)
  • People finding suitable employment
  • Increased uptake of benefits and financial help
  • Improved mental and physical health
  • More skills and qualifications
  • Strengthened social/ community connections
  • Quantifiable time savings
  • Quantifiable cost savings

7.9.4 Methods 

For partnership programmes that deliver devices, connectivity and training, benefits measurement will be built around the core model of:

  • understanding who our users are and what they want to achieve
  • developing a ‘logic model’ that describes how outcomes (benefits) can be realised with Connecting Scotland support
  • establishing a baseline measurement when users join the programme
  • understanding users’ experience of the programme
  • measuring benefits achieved compared to the baseline after a pre-determined period or at periodic intervals.

Measurement can be undertaken in a range of ways which will be tailored to the user group and delivery context (see below). We will still use surveys and interviews as primary means measuring outcomes, but will supplement these with added approaches:

  • adding a longitudinal (cohort) study: this would involve tracking a cohort of users in detail throughout their involvement in the programme. This enables a more fine-grained picture of how change occurs and how this is linked to Connecting Scotland support. It also enables a fine-grained measure of outcomes for a sub-sample of users that can be used to better quantify the overall impact.
  • building more data collection into service touchpoints: contact with digital champions, with the helpline, with the website, or a visit to a connectivity hub are all opportunities to provide low effort means for users to engage in data collection on a key measure to boost the coverage provided by other research instruments, such as surveys
  • linking data from multiple sources to generate more insight: this would involve combining management information, research data and external datasets (e.g., SIMD data) to understand, for e.g., how data use varies with demographics and how this matches up with reported usage in surveys. This will be a powerful way to track how the programme is meeting need, where the gaps and to be able to fine tune the programme.

Mixed Methods and Triangulation

Evaluative research will incorporate both quantitative and qualitative approaches to measuring and understanding impact. Quantitative measurement (primarily through user surveys) provides an aggregate overview of the outcomes and impacts for people supported by Connecting Scotland but does not readily show the mechanisms through which change occurs.

The qualitative methods outlined here – semi-structured interviews and the proposed longitudinal cohort study – will be used, in combination with the survey results, to gain vital insights into the specific factors that have helped the realisation of outcomes.

For example, if surveys show that people have successfully gained employment since receiving Connecting Scotland support, in-depth qualitative methods can help us to understand which features of support were important, the circumstances under which users were able to harness this support, as well as accounting for any external factors that might have contributed to the outcome. We can then formulate hypotheses as to how impact is achieved which can support future initiatives.

7.9.5 Measurement instruments

One important factor to bear in mind is that the intervention of bringing people online is an enabling intervention. Its role, mostly, is to maximise the effectiveness of other interventions rather than delivering benefits just by itself. For example, while supporting use of NHS Near Me through digital inclusion may help reduce treatment times and lead to better health outcomes, the quality of the diagnosis and treatment will have also been a significant contributor to achieving this benefit.

This is where qualitative research is crucial, not only to be able to understand the specific features of Connecting Scotland support that were most important, but also to gauge the ‘weight’ of their contribution to the overall outcome. At the same time, because we are positioning Connecting Scotland as an intervention that ‘supercharges’ other government programmes (precisely because of its enabling effect), we need to tie in with the evaluation programmes for those interventions to avoid duplication of effort.

For this reason, we will use multi-level approach to evaluation:

Top layer: National measurement: rates of digital inclusion shown by national surveys, shifts in national wellbeing measures, E.g., via OFCOM statistics on broadband tariff uptake and the Scottish Household survey section on Internet use

Middle layer: Intervention level measurement. Integrate with evaluation strategies put in place for policy initiatives being supported by Connecting Scotland (e.g., the child poverty evaluation strategy)

Bottom layer: Data sets from management data and direct research with Connecting Scotland users.

7.9.6 Benefits measurement in the context of delivery models

The new Connecting Scotland programme is advocating a portfolio of delivery routes, partnership programmes each of which need a tailored evaluation strategy to meet their specific situation. Direct delivery models:

Those models where we deliver devices and connectivity directly to recipients via the programme.

  • these will be evaluated as per the core evaluation approach detailed above
  • evaluation will be integrated with any policy / intervention focussed evaluation also being undertaken (e.g., as for the Child poverty delivery plan). This would include aligning Connecting Scotland outcomes with poverty drivers, but also having Connecting Scotland elements included in the Child Poverty evaluation protocol.
  • Where ownership of delivery lies with a partner organisation, contractual arrangements will be put in place specifying the delivery of proper evaluation activities, either by themselves or in concert with the core evaluation team Place based models:

Those models where connectivity, device access and support is available in a communal / public space, e.g., a support hub, community centre or venue:

  • a transient user base in many of these settings will create an added challenge for measuring outcomes beyond key indicators of level and type of use and satisfaction
  • we will use participant observation to understand the specifics of how hubs are being used and recruit hub users to take part in interviews
  • we will recruit a cohort of hub users who would be willing to be approached after a time interval (e.g., after a few months) to understand how they are progressing on their digital journey and the specific contribution their use of Connecting Scotland facilities had on that journey. Partnership programmes

Digital Health and Social Care teams are leading digital inclusion work in social housing and digital mental health. Connecting Scotland team is engaging with offices to understand on how to support these initiatives.

  • there will be a need to understand the effectiveness of the partner programme in terms of potential outcomes, as well as assessing users’ experiences of being involved to get the service model right if the partnership programme is to progress to a new stage (e.g., delivery). This means that an element of user research will be needed as well as an evaluation framework for outcomes.
  • outcomes / benefits will be evaluated as per the core evaluation approach detailed above.
  • we will standardise the non-specific elements of the evaluation across all partnership programmes to have comparable data and a consistent and efficient approach. Systems and capacity building

Organisation / ecosystem level interventions to maximise the value of digital inclusion work already being undertaken across public, private and third sectors.

  • new metrics will be needed to judge the ‘health’ of the digital inclusion ecosystem
  • in its simplest form this could be a periodic survey to be completed by organisations and other entities with a digital inclusion remit
  • measures of ‘digital health’ can be incorporated into a refreshed Digital Participation Charter
  • specialist research can also be commissioned like the Blake Stephenson organisational research delivered for phases 1 and 2 of the original Connecting Scotland programme
  • work towards a standardised way of managing and measuring digital inclusion at a Local Authority area level Benefits realisation plan

The realisation plan will be aligned with the project delivery plan and will have the following details for each benefit:

  • Benefit description – a description of the benefit and what it will deliver for individuals, organisations or society.
  • Baseline calculation/measurements:
    • For organisational benefits – a calculation made of the current costs
    • For individual and societal benefits – a baseline measurement prior to the intervention
    • For all: details of the calculation or measurement and any assumptions made
  • Logic model - a logic model showing how the intervention may lead to specific benefits.
  • Evidence of contribution - qualitative evidence and data that shows that, and how, an intervention contributes to realising the benefit.
  • Predicted benefits - predicted outcomes for the benefit measured.
  • Method to measure - an evaluation plan for measuring this benefit.
  • Individuals, groups and organisations impacted - what individuals, groups and which parts of SG and wider public sector are affected.
  • Roles impacts - what roles are affected within organisations (where organisations are the benefit recipients).
  • Benefit owner - who, in business terms, will own the realisation of the benefit. As noted above, because Connecting Scotland is an enabling intervention, benefits will be shared with other implementation and evaluation programmes. Ownership of benefits may land in different programmes.
  • Realisation Profile - how long it will take for the benefit to be realised. This is a key consideration for digital inclusion work as for some groups skills and confidence building may take time

The evaluation of Connecting Scotland will cover impacts and measure success at four levels:

1. Service and Process – Ongoing evaluation of the service delivered and the experience of the end user.

2. Economic and Social Impact (Individuals/households) - impact on the end-users to become better connected and digitally confident.

3. Economic and Social Impact (society) – impact on local and national communities, the economy and the public sector and government.

4. National Performance Framework (NPF) - Evaluation of the outcomes and indicators in the NPF that this programme will address – as set out in the Strategic Case - Scottish Government Approaches to the Digital Agenda

These measures have been mapped against the benefits to ensure complete coverage.

7.10 Risk management

The programme will continue to use the Scottish Government risk management approach detailed in the Scottish Public Finance Manual. The project team has ensured that risk identification and management is an integral part of all team roles and have scheduled regular risk workshops to ensure the register remains current and risks and issues are managed effectively. At the point of recording risks, ownership is assigned to a member of the programme team, the delivery team, a member of a supplier’s team or a member of the governance model.

Along with risk ownership there will be the potential to assign an action owner to ensure ownership remains with the most appropriate person while risk elaboration/mitigation take place. The Programme Governance Board have risk review as a regular part of each meeting. All risk information is stored in a Microsoft Excel based risk register.

7.10.1 Key risk categories

Upon analysis and profiling of our risks, 5 key categories emerged. These are summarised below. Finance

The financial restrictions on government and elsewhere are already covered in this paper. The picture around finance is constantly evolving, creating additional risk for the programme as this creates uncertainty around planning and makes it more difficult to engage with partners as they are facing similar pressures. Resourcing

The Resource Spending Review has meant additional restrictions on recruitment to the Scottish Government. The programme is currently under-resourced, and this has been the case for some time, leading to staff having to cover gaps which they may not have the level of time or expertise to undertake confidently. Programme delivery

One of the impacts of the gaps in resourcing has been that delivery of the Connecting Scotland programme is now behind schedule. This FBC, originally due for delivery in August 2022, was extended to December 2022. The scope of the exercise has changed within that period, further impacting on confidence levels around delivery. Benefits realisation

Ensuring a link between the resource and capital expenditure on the programme and the intended outcomes around health, education, alleviating poverty and other government priorities is one of the most crucial functions of Connecting Scotland. Although the programme has a wealth of evidence, data and stakeholder feedback, there are several risks recorded around how effectively the team are using data and engaging with policy colleagues to ensure that these are managed effectively, and the programme continues to undertake actions that are connected to desirable outcomes. Data

A programme of this nature involves collecting a huge amount of data, both qualitative and quantitative. This data is controlled by SG but is collected and processed jointly with external partners, so risks around this are recorded in addition to those around data gaps and the potential for misuse.

7.11 Monitoring and assurance

Milestones are agreed within the team and reported against to the Programme Governance Board, ensuring that project deliverables align with external requirements, stakeholder expectations and organisational needs. Grant payments to SCVO are conditional on the evidenced delivery of agreed milestones.

As the programme scales up, options for a Service Level Agreement will be considered for SCVO and other external partners, including costs, timescales and escalation points.

7.12 Timescales

Production of the FBC began in June 2022 and an initial draft was completed by the end of the year.

The work for the Connecting Scotland programme over the next 5 years is dependent on decisions made around the scope and operating model, but options for this are explored in more depth in a separate policy paper.

7.13 Conclusion

The management case shows that Connecting Scotland has been able to evolve from an emergency response into a sustainable entity that can flex according to the new financial and technological challenges faced in the present day. The foundations of the programme are based around Agile project management, strong governance, a robust approach to risk management and a multi-skilled team. These foundations have been used to build up a strong record of success, helping over 60,000 people out of digital exclusion and making Scotland an inspiration for other countries looking to reduce the digital divide, increase equality and join up government priorities.



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