Enterprise and Skills Board: strategic plan

This full plan provides clarity around strategic direction to enterprise and skills agencies and a blueprint to Government to turn up the dial on productivity and drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

3. A Focus on Tailored Delivery: Collaboration with the Customer at the Heart

Culture, collaboration and the importance of place

The Board will ensure that Scotland has a group of organisations - all of whom serve to grow Scotland's economy - where collaboration is 'business as usual'. As well as promoting common values and a collective purpose, it will expand this approach to wider partners. For example, linking with the emerging network of Regional Economic Partnerships, and encouraging the agencies to connect with all of these and the local authorities who are driving them.

Since the completion of the Enterprise and Skills Review there has already been a deepening of collaboration between the agencies. They have begun to coordinate and align how they plan, allowing them to spot opportunities for collaboration and to remove overlaps. Most of the actions and recommendations in this plan are designed to embed deep cross-agency working, priorities and cultures. Delivery of these and existing activity will include:

  • More cross-agency teams
  • Cross-agency capacity-building and CPD
  • Cross-agency workshops
  • Development of common customer journeys and business processes including consistent contract criteria
  • Common data models and data sharing agreements
  • Shared and consistent business planning approaches
  • Delivery of a shared IT service for core IT services
  • A consistent approach to measuring the impacts of agencies' activities

The agencies are increasingly working across boundaries and with other partners:

  • Development of Brand Scotland and the Scotland is Now campaign to mobilise and join up efforts to promote Scotland internationally.
  • Cross-agency responses to major economic challenges such as Brexit.
  • Cross-agency engagement in City Region Deals, developing regional growth deals and the accompanying regional economic partnerships.
  • Continued development of regional skills investment plans.
  • Significant and co-ordinated investment by Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council in the next phase of Innovation Centre development.
  • Delivering the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland.

Deepening this collaboration will require deliberate effort to ensure clarity of purpose, that trust is built and that a lasting difference is achieved by creating a genuine commitment to working together. The Board will oversee progress towards this more effective collaboration. The chief executives of the agencies have been charged collectively with continually reviewing the potential for greater collaboration and ensuring that agreed changes are implemented timeously and embedded at all levels of operations.




Infographic text:

Secure Buy-in

  • Commitment at all levels
  • Do more projects together
  • Incremental steps
  • Keep it simple
  • Team working
  • Shared plans
  • Programme decision making

Establish Clarity

  • Common vision
  • Outcome focus
  • Focus on customer

Build trust

  • Strong relationships
  • Language
  • Share experience/stories
  • Value all contributions
  • Recognise and respect differences
  • Benefit from each others strengths
  • Transparency and visibility

Deepen Commitment

  • Represent each other
  • Inherent understanding
  • Confidence in delivery
  • Common, share, do once
  • Build on and learn

A focus on opportunity and meeting the needs of customers

As part of the Board's wider aspirations, the enterprise and skills agencies have embarked on a significant change programme that will see them doing more to:

  • leverage Brand Scotland to compete across key global markets - helping businesses to export and inspiring a new generation to work and invest in Scotland
  • working with regional partners to harness investment, skills and business to build vibrant economic communities with more and better opportunities for our people
  • tailoring help to the needs of businesses by providing digitally enabled services, where advice and funds get to those who need them easily and efficiently
  • reigniting efforts to support entrepreneurs and drive company growth
  • build data capability that will enable real-time market diagnostics and help inform policy, investment and support services

A holistic approach to supporting the growth of businesses in Scotland

"Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clear to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."
Steve Jobs

Tens of thousands of Scottish businesses each year come into contact with one or all of our enterprise and skills agencies. Bringing simplicity and clarity to that support is vital, which is why the Strategic Board is establishing a new main online point of access for all customers.

Better Customer Experience

Many businesses are positive about the support they receive from the agencies but some have recorded that they sometimes find it difficult to access the right support at the right time; that they sometimes feel passed from pillar to post or that, when they do engage, it can feel confusing, overly bureaucratic or that they need to try to fit a set of criteria that is not relevant for them or their business.

A main online entry point will be used to direct businesses to where support can be best delivered. An initial version of this that will be delivered in April 2019 as a first milestone in this wide-ranging programme of transformation.

However, the Board wants to go much further. It will drive a truly digitally-enabled business support environment across Scotland, helping to collectively reach many more businesses and open up new routes to stimulate growth. It will promote a shift towards more proactive approaches from the agencies, including through the development of business characteristics to support profiling and signpost appropriate interventions. It will drive greater use of system-wide data, predictive analytics and intelligence to focus priorities and impact and shape wider recommendations to Government on economic priorities. A process of continuous improvement across the agencies will deliver interventions that benefit from real-time feedback.

A common delivery environment offers multiple opportunities.


A common delivery environment offers multiple opportunities

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Smarter Delivery

  • Improved data and analytics
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Aggregate opportunity across the public sector
  • Achieving greater economic, social and community impact with more clients supported to do more
  • Reduce organisational risk
  • Improved security

Better Customer Experience

  • Accessible - available when and where needed with no wrong entry point and effective signposting
  • Access to tailored information, knowledge, insights and solutions
  • Increased visibility and transparency of activity
  • Only providing information once and every step intuitive and value-added
  • Increased confidence in our organisations both from our customers and staff

Simplified and Streamlined

  • Simple and easy to navigate including intuitive workflow
  • Improved service quality and turnaround time
  • Supporting different types of engagement including the ability to transact digitally

Imagine: you go online looking to see if you can get funding towards a trip you are planning to boost sales in a new overseas market. You take the time to answer a few questions about your company. You get a quick and clear answer about whether you might be eligible, how long it will take and what you need to be able to evidence in order to get the support. In doing so, you also get clear information about what else is available from across the public sector to support your growth. You can access market insights that will be useful for your product. And you get the chance to learn about other businesses like you, what they have learned and what they have done as a result of the support on offer. You can read about their journey or you can connect with similar-minded business people directly. You can save this information in a secure personal space to go back to later and be able to see how your application is progressing or engage virtually with business advisors. And you just need to tell us - all of us - about your business once. So, you can just get what you need quickly and get back to running your business.

Actions and Recommendations

Actions to be taken now are:

Del (A1). Develop 'big data' systems that robustly inform agency planning and shared information.

Additional recommendations to the Scottish Government are:

Del (R1). Agencies should take a greater role, working collaboratively with local authority partners, the private sector and others, in delivering place-based economic development that responds to local opportunities and takes housing, infrastructure and digital connectivity into consideration.

Del (R2). Develop a National Asset Register of sectors, skills and capabilities that is geographically focussed.



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