Scotland's Digital Future: High Level Operating Framework Executive Summary (version 2)

The High Level Operating Framework provides a set of architecture and design principles for use when designing ICT solutions. It also provides an information assurance approach from customers accessing services to promote a digital first approach. The collaboration and integration that this supports, with a focus on re-use before buy, will help eliminate duplication and avoidable spend.

Executive Summary

High Level Operating Framework - What is it?

  • A way of working developed collaboratively by all areas of the public sector
  • Provides a set of principles, guidelines and standards which organisations should apply when considering proposals for new or enhanced ICT services


  • A Catalogue of existing and planned services which are available for re-use will be created and maintained by a national group representing all sectors
  • Defines a common approach to describing the various ICT services, including the business services they support, so that opportunities for re-use are identified as early as possible - A Generic Services Model (see below)

High Level Operating Framework - What's in it for me?


  • Will help you create efficiencies through increased collaboration and sharing
  • May assist you to more easily assess impact of any new cross-sector policy or strategy
  • Save you both money and time by being able to exploit suitable existing ICT products and services rather than procuring new/bespoke products
  • Where new is unavoidable, you will gain maximum benefit by aggregating demand for similar services and using national or sectoral procurement guidance and contracts
  • If the Framework is used in developing your strategic ICT plans, you will ensure alignment with the national and sectoral digital strategies and will help you eliminate duplication and avoidable spend

High Level Operating Framework - How do I use it?

  • Your Head of ICT, CIO or CTO will be aware of the Framework but will need support from Executive Teams to encourage compliance
  • Scottish Government and its Agencies are required to demonstrate compliance with the Framework during change process
    • Investment Approval stage
    • Procurement
  • NHS, The Improvement Service and many other agencies operate a similar 'test' within their change/investment appraisal process
  • Each sector has a representation on the Governance Board (Technical & Design Board) - these are 1st points of contact for the HLOF



Email: Scottish Government Chief Information Officer

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