Publication - Strategy/plan

Scotland's Digital Future - Delivery of Public Services

Published: 19 Sep 2012

Scotland's national digital public services strategy and action plan.

Scotland's Digital Future - Delivery of Public Services
Section Three: The drivers of our strategy

Section Three: The drivers of our strategy

There are strong business reasons to invest in digital public services and to achieve more effective use of underlying ICT infrastructure.

Public Service Reform

The strategy and its implementation will support public service reform that focuses on achieving outcomes and doing so with greater efficiency. The four pillars of reform identified in Renewing Scotland's Public Services [1] are:

  • a decisive shift towards prevention – by helping partners to prioritise and invest in actions that will help prevent problems arising or deal with them early on
  • collaboration and integration – supporting greater integration of public services at a local level by enabling better partnership and collaboration around shared outcomes
  • workforce development and effective leadership – by enabling new ways of working, which make the best use of the talents, capacities and potential of people at all levels, to better involve people and communities in the design of the services that support them
  • improving performance – by supporting a sharp focus on improving performance through greater transparency, innovation and use of digital technology. The strategy will play a key role in creating a more efficient system of public services (public, third and private sectors) by reducing duplication and sharing services.

Case Study: Helping people go digital, Danish Government

The Danish Government's goal is for entirely paperless interactions between citizens/businesses and the public sector by 2015. Citizens and businesses will be provided with a 'digital mailbox' to communicate with the public sector. Those who are not proficient users of IT will receive help from local service centres or over the phone. Alternatively, users may choose to provide a digital power of attorney to their relatives, so that their family can assist them remotely.

More at

Digital public services and cost effective use of ICT will play a crucial role in all four pillars. For example, good data and sharing of data are vital for a preventative approach, while effective use of digital delivery can also free up resource for face-to-face delivery where that is required. Initiatives such as Welfare Reform and Health and Social Care Integration will require ICT systems that enable partnership and collaboration. Some services and users require quick access to very large and complex data sets to deliver their business.

Effective Use of Resources

The Scottish Government's Response to the McClelland Review of ICT Infrastructure in the Public Sector in Scotland [2] committed to achieve better value through collaboration and sharing of ICT infrastructure and digital connectivity, and budgets were adjusted to reflect the identified savings. This strategy sets out how savings will be made and tracked. John McClelland's report also illustrated the benefits to be gained from using ICT in making services more effective and easier to access. His report set out the landscape in 2011 which already included a range of important initiatives but from which the public sector must continue to move forward.

We will also ensure that our ICT infrastructure is deployed in an energy-efficient manner and, by delivering services digitally, reduce carbon impact e.g. by reducing travel requirements and having fewer, and more energy-efficient, data centres. In this way we will contribute to National Outcome 12: 'We reduce the local and global environmental impact of our consumption and production' and to the requirements of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

Scotland's Digital Future

The Scottish Economic Recovery Plan: Update February 2011 [3] , identified the opportunity to use ICT more innovatively to improve productivity and help increase economic growth. The public sector will contribute by ensuring that business can deal digitally with the public sector in an effective and efficient manner and by open data providing a basis for new products and services. In this way we will support National Outcome 1: 'We live in a Scotland that is the most attractive place for doing business in Europe'.

In delivering against this strategy we will contribute to achieving the bigger picture set out in Scotland's Digital Future: A Strategy for Scotland, published in March 2011. This set out ambitions for digital connectivity, a digital economy, digital participation and digital public services, which are interdependent strands of an overall vision.