Scotland's Digital Future: Scottish public sector cloud computing guidance

Guidance and principles on cloud computing in the Scottish public sector.


Scotland's Digital Future: Delivery of Public Services set out an objective of developing a national strategy for the public sector's data storage focusing on consolidation and re-use. This reflected a recommendation of the Review of ICT Infrastructure in the Public Sector in Scotland report by John McClelland which suggested that significant efficiency and energy savings could be achieved through consolidation.

The strategy Scotland's Digital Future: Data Hosting and Data Centre Strategy for the Scottish Public Sector for the Scottish Public Sector sets out how we will deliver on that overall objective and in particular how the public sector will adopt the following approaches for achieving significant efficiency and energy savings: cloud computing, virtualisation and co-location.

This document delivers on the priority action within the strategy to set out the cloud policy for the public sector, and provide the guidance and principles for how Scotland's Public Sector will use the cloud. In assessing the current approach and environments we found that organisations face many options in making arrangements for data hosting but lack both an overall vision and information base for doing so, and need guidance on how best the Scottish public sector use cloud computing.

The decision roadmap in the data hosting and data centre strategy sets out what organisations should consider in terms of new investment or change to the delivery or hosting of services.

Cloud computing is a priority option in the overall strategy and organisations must consider how they can adopt the policy and deliver the efficiency and flexibility that this can offer. Cloud computing is an evolving and broad topic on which almost everyone has a perspective and an opinion. Our overall policy position is that cloud computing is part of the strategic future of digital public services in Scotland. It has potential to fundamentally change the nature of digital public service delivery and, when appropriately utilised, can provide benefits in cost effectiveness, energy efficiency and speed of deployment.

Cloud computing is a new approach to the delivery of ICT services in Scotland's Public sector that can deliver:

  • "anywhere" access to shared computing resources
  • "freedom" from capital expenditure on back-end computing equipment and software
  • the ability to provision computing services very quickly and cheaper than traditional models, and
  • the ability to pay for such services on some form of metered or per-use basis

Delivering on the overall policy position will mean -

  • cloud computing is the dominant solution of our Digital Public Services delivery
  • we reduce the number of data centres in line with the strategy Scotland's Digital Future: Data Hosting and Data Centre Strategy for the Scottish Public Sector
  • we deliver multi-vendor procurement frameworks to ensure external service providers have the opportunity to fulfil our requirements and in doing so maximise competition
  • we investigate with public sector partners the opportunities to create a Scottish public sector community cloud

Who is the policy aimed at?

In line with the approach of and commitments in "Scotland's Digital Future: Delivery of Public Services", this policy has been developed with and for the Scottish public sector and their partners to maximise the benefits of an aggregated approach to delivery. The sectors in scope are:

  • Central Government including Police and Fire
  • Local Authorities
  • Health
  • Further and higher education

The policy will also be available to the third sector and in particular is appropriate where they are supporting the direct delivery of public services.


Email: Philip Whitley

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