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 Five: What we will do

Section Five: What we will do

The public sector is committing to deliver digital public services and to work with industry and users to adopt the following four principles in doing so.

Citizen/Customer Focus

Our ambition is to use digital technology to redesign services, or find alternatives to such services, so that they focus on user needs and experience, and achieve the outcomes to which we aspire as a nation [5] .

Our "digital first" approach will mean that the public sector will deliver online all services that can be delivered online. The public increasingly expects to be able to access services quickly and conveniently at times and in ways that suit them. Our ambition is for citizens and businesses to access public information and services in the same seamless and effortless way that they access services from the highest rated online commercial offerings. Service users will, therefore, use digital channels because they meet their needs.

Case Study: Report It app

Harnessing mobile technology and using maps, photographs and GPS, the Android and i OS apps enable residents of North Ayrshire to report issues like potholes, graffiti and fly-tipping anywhere, at any time. Residents raised almost 400 service requests from the apps in the first four months, around a fifth of the total service requests raised with the council in that period.

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There are of course services, e.g. sensitive advice and counselling, where personal, face-to-face interaction will continue to be necessary and appropriate. Also, assistance must be provided in using digital channels where that is required.

Public services will be:

  • available online wherever they can be so
  • accessible through a wide range of devices from, for example, computers, smartphones and televisions
  • accessible through a single, though not exclusive, point of entry to public services to help navigate through the public sector landscape
  • available with assisted access to take into account the differing capacities of users, including by telephone or face-to-face
  • secure, reliable, resilient, high quality and high performing

and will

  • use systems of assuring identity that are secure and give access to all public services
  • be shaped by the needs of users and involve service users directly in their design
  • use ICT to enable personalisation of services and self management
  • be designed to take account of the methods and capabilities already provided by the private sector that are used extensively and intuitively by citizens
  • be joined up through the use of common technology applications
  • work because they rest on common standards that comply with appropriate local, national, UK, European and international requirements
  • be supported by delivery of the Scottish Government's digital participation ambitions set out in Scotland's Digital Future

Case Study: Developing Skills through 'MyWorldOfWork'

My WoW helps individuals find out what kind of job they would be suited to and how they can go about getting it, 24/7 and in any location. My WoW complements Skills Development Scotland's vital face-to-face and telephone services, as well as those provided by partners. It empowers those who are comfortable with the web to self-help to enable careers advisers to target their efforts at those who need a bit more help.

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Privacy and Openness: using data appropriately

Our ambition is to deliver digital public services in which the people of Scotland have trust and confidence. This means that we must ensure that personal privacy is protected in line with the law and good practice while using data in order to get service benefits from it. So we must have agreed standards and principles underpinning the way we collect, store and manage data.

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The benefits of information sharing between public bodies are that the citizen or business only need to provide data once instead of giving the same data multiple times to different agencies, and needs and requirements for services can be assessed in the round, irrespective of agency boundaries. But other than where statutory provisions permit data sharing, the citizen should determine when data about him or her is shared.

In handling personal data we will:

  • protect identity and privacy in line with legal requirements, e.g. the Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act, and good practice as set out in the Scottish Government's Identity Management and Privacy Principles [6]
  • create, use and encourage the use of systems that allow self management of data by citizens and businesses
  • share data, in line with legal requirements, such as the EU Directive on the Re-use of Public Sector Information and good practice, in order to improve the quality and efficiency of our services and enable personalisation to ensure that services are appropriate to needs

Case Study: E-government in Estonia

Estonia's 1.3 million residents can use electronic identity to vote, pay taxes, and access more than 160 services online, from unemployment benefits to property registration. Private-sector entities, such as banks and telecommunications companies, also offer services through the state portal, and thus have an incentive to invest in maintaining the infrastructure backbone.

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We will also:

  • re-use data from our systems, safely anonymised, to support the research and analysis which can itself contribute to the development of approaches which better meet desired outcomes
  • publish as much information as possible concerning the data we hold, and how and when we will make that data available in re-usable form
  • open up access to data created and held by the public sector to make our services more transparent and accountable
  • open up access to data created and held by the public sector to provide businesses with the opportunities to develop new products and services and therefore grow the economy
  • agree with users and suppliers of ICT systems the most effective common standards to use for publishing and sharing data, to support the linking of data between datasets regardless of source
  • make data accessible in formats that allow and encourage re-use, with re-use possible under licence terms that are clear, fair, transparent and where possible free

A Skilled and Empowered Workforce

Our ambition is to have a skilled and empowered workforce that delivers high-quality digital public services and the ICT systems that support these.

We will ensure that our public sector employees generally have access to appropriate development opportunities that support digital access, including for providing assisted access to digital services.

We will build on the existing skills within our ICT workforce to support public sector organisations, deliver our digital vision, and adopt new and flexible ways of working that will increase efficiency and effectiveness. Increased collaboration between public sector organisations in deployment of ICT will allow and require changing approaches to the deployment and skilling of this workforce.

Case Study: First ScotRail – Improving service quality

The Service Quality Incentive Regime ( SQUIRE) ensures that First ScotRail maintains and ultimately improves the services and facilities it provides for rail passengers. The SQUIRE Inspection System lets Transport Scotland's remote workforce capture service quality failure information using Android tablets and to upload it wirelessly to the back office. The tablet devices also provide a rich user interface and graphics capability allowing the workforce to annotate maps of stations and trains with location of service failures.

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As we move further away from individual organisations developing and operating self-sufficient systems there will be increased opportunities to use resources efficiently by sharing capabilities, capacity and development opportunities across organisations. Such sharing may be more easily achieved within sectors, but where benefits would be gained from sharing across sectors, we will identify and seek to address any barriers to doing so.

We will:

  • collaborate in the development of the wider public sector workforce to support digital public service delivery to ensure that employees can be confident and assured in delivering services anywhere through any device – this will form part of our overall approach to public service workforce development
  • collaborate in the deployment of our ICT staff in order to maximise the impact of their skills and use resources efficiently
  • develop shared approaches to enhancing the skills of the ICT workforce, and using those skills where most useful, to support the delivery of digital public services

Collaboration and Value for Money

Our ambition is to ensure that we get value for money in our investments in ICT through re-use as the first priority, then buy and lastly build. We will deploy leadership and organisational capability across sectors to allow us to maximise the impact of, and reduce spend on, purchase and delivery. Crucially, we will look to how developing digital services, or other ways of delivering the relevant outcome, can reduce costs.

Collaboration will be the default choice in design and delivery of services and in the deployment of ICT infrastructure to support this. There will be a presumption against each organisation separately pursuing investment in and ownership of ICT assets or seeking its own capability for systems development. There will be a presumption in favour of investment avoidance and transaction/usage-based payment.

Each sector will ensure that business cases for investment are examined so as to ensure that these principles are adhered to. In central government, for example, the existing remits of the Strategic Corporate Services Board and Information Services Investment Board will be enhanced to include a scrutiny role. In health, current scrutiny mechanism are well developed with a clear programme structure in place.

We will measure the benefits gained from pursuing these principles.

We will:

  • participate in the development of a High-Level ICT Operating Framework to support re-use and sharing of existing assets as a priority, ensure any investment in ICT is bought with sharing in mind and to support investment avoidance
  • agree common network and connectivity requirements which will support a catalogue of services that make communication, sharing and service provision more cost-effective
  • demonstrate savings on ICT spend that are delivered through our new approach to ICT procurement, building on the Procurement Reform Bill
  • encourage convergence and consolidation of applications in the deployment of technology and ensure interoperability where convergence is not feasible
  • where cost-effective, use transaction/usage-based payment by exploiting new ways of working including cloud computing and an 'any device anywhere' approach
  • further consolidate data centres to reduce investment and energy use costs
  • utilise management information and benchmarking to identify excellence and support such performance nationally and sectorally