Scotland's Digital Future: High Level Operating Framework

Guidance and information for public sector organisations on the design principles, standards and specifications of the Scotland’s Digital Future: Delivery of Public Services strategy.

3 Common Reference Model

The Reference Model illustrated below has been derived from the US Federal Government [3] and Australian Government Architectures [4] . It is included within this document to provide some context for the ICT Operating Framework described in the following section.

A short description only has been provided in support of this model, as any detailed examination of each element should be undertaken collaboratively by the respective Technical Design Group; it is therefore regarded as premature at this early stage of development.

Common reference model

A detailed description of the ICT Operating Framework is provided in Section 4 of this document, supported by a summary description of each of the model layers.

3.1 Four Strategic Principles

These are reproduced from the paper Scotland's Digital Future - Delivery of Public Services, from which the following summary is derived:

3.1.1 Citizen/Customer Focus

Service design will be consumer centric and the on line experience delivered will be of an exceptionally high standard. Public services will be:

  1. Accessible via a range of media devices and in formats suited to all end user capabilities
  2. Presented as a single entity to the end user, regardless of source organisation
  3. Integrated into a shared approach to identity and authentication management
  4. Compliant with local, national and international standards

3.1.2 Privacy & Openness

Personal data will be handled appropriately and securely across all systems and managed in line with legal requirements, applicable standards and good practice. Public services will:

  1. Use common standards and approaches to collecting, storing, referencing and sharing data
  2. Reuse those standards to share data across organisations in support of a better, simpler and singular view of government systems for the citizen
  3. Support update and management of personal information by the citizen and businesses
  4. Share and reuse data in support of research and analysis in contribution towards national outcomes

3.1.3 Skilled & Empowered Workforce

Delivery of high quality digital public services and the underpinning ICT systems will be supported by a skilled and supported workforce. Public Service delivery will be:

  1. Flexible in its approach to sourcing and sharing resources across organisations to optimise utilisation, effectiveness and efficiency
  2. Supportive of collaboration in developing and maintaining services
  3. Sustainable through on going skills sharing and development across and between sectors
  4. Designed to encourage innovation, creativity and new ways of working

3.1.4 Collaboration & Value for Money

Collaboration will be the default choice in design and delivery of services and associated ICT infrastructure. Public Services will:

  1. Adopt common interoperability and connectivity standards to support reuse and sharing of existing & proposed assets
  2. Consolidate and converge its application portfolio where feasible
  3. Where cost effective, use transaction/usage based services e.g. PAAS, SAAS
  4. Demonstrate savings on ICT spend, delivered through a 'joined up' approach to ICT procurement.

3.2 Performance Measures

The Performance Measurement layer in the above model is in place to confirm that there is alignment between national, sector and local initiatives and that they are in turn aligned with the Governing Principles set out in the strategy Scotland's Digital Future - Delivery of Public Services.

A measurement and benefits framework has been created to monitor progress with the implementation of the DPS Strategy and Supporting Sectoral Strategies and can be found at The framework uses a score card format, covering four areas of key strategic importance for the DPS Strategy and the Scottish Government's wider Public Service Reform agenda. The four score card quadrants are described in the diagram below.

The four score card quadrants

The benefit areas that will be measured are those contained within the Measurement and Benefits Framework that are directly related to the four Architecture Principles used in this document. The framework document provides further detail on the sources of data that will be used to measure these benefits.

It is anticipated that, at a sector and/or organisational level, additional benefits and related performance measures, specific to the activities contained within the sector strategies, will be identified.

3.3 Business Model

The Business Model provides a simplified functional view of the common business areas instead of through a stove-piped, organisational structure view [5] . It provides a simple representation of the business of Scottish public sector bodies using four primary business functional areas and may be useful in considering:

  • opportunities for service, application and systems consolidation
  • collaboration opportunities
  • shared investments
  • data sharing
  • citizen service delivery, within and across sectors

It is deliberately a non-technical layer of the model and focuses attention on what activities and business services are required to perform the business of serving Scotland's citizens.

A further level of abstraction may be performed to an organisational grouping level, where business capabilities are represented by business services that are enacted through the business processes created by bodies providing similar functions. This is deemed outwith the scope of this paper.

3.3.1 Citizen Service Delivery

The Citizen Service Delivery Business Area describes the purpose of the Scottish Public Sector in terms of the services it provides both to and on behalf of citizens, businesses and other organisations.

It could include:

Law enforcement & Justice; Education; Health; Transport; Social Services; Economic Development; Environmental services and controls

3.3.2 Service Fulfilment

The Service Fulfilment Business Area represents the functions and mechanisms used to achieve the purpose of the Scottish public sector. It is the functional channel through which government services are provided to citizens.

It could include:

Student Awards; Grant Aid; Permits & Licensing; Victim and Witness information; Advice & Skill; Housing Repairs, Benefit Processing

3.3.3 Service Support

The Service Support Business Area provides the policy, programmatic and managerial foundation to support public sector operations in the provision of services to citizens, businesses and other organisations.

It could include:

Strategy and Performance; Policy and Legislation Development; International and Constitution; Information for Transparency and Openness of Government

3.3.4 Resource Management

The Resource Management Business area refers to the support activities that enable the public sector to operate effectively and efficiently.

It could include:

HR and Financial Management; Supply Chain Management; ICT Management; Administration; Information Governance & Knowledge Management; Asset Management;

3.4 Data Sharing Model

The Data Sharing Model is a flexible, standards-based framework to enable (within broader considerations of privacy and ethics) information sharing and re-use, via the standard description and discovery of common data and the promotion of uniform data management practices. It provides a standard means by which data may be described, categorised and shared.

Within the model there are four standardisation areas:

  • Data Description: provides a means to describe data uniformly, thereby supporting its discovery and sharing
  • Data Context: facilitates discovery of data through an approach to the categorisation of data according to taxonomies
  • Data Sharing: supports the access and exchange of data where access consists of ad hoc requests (such as a query of a data asset) and exchange consists of fixed, recurring transactions between parties. It is enabled by capabilities provided by both the Data Context and Data Description standardisation areas
  • Data Ownership: Data is owned by the business and accountability for its quality lies with business owners


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