A Scottish local authority has set out its vision to integrate digital as part of a programme of organisational change.

Highland Council has approved new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Digital Strategies as it seeks to become a ‘digitally-enabled council’.

The updated ICT Strategy has several key principles outlining how ICT services will be designed, sourced, and delivered over the next five years.

It comes after the council made the decision to in-source ICT service delivery from tech firm Wipro, with in-house teams now delivering the majority of services. This has led to the retention of 30 skilled jobs and the addition of 30 new roles in the ICT team.

The new ICT Strategy outlines four key themes:

  • Building a local, sustainable, skilled, and empowered ICT team.
  • Continuing to challenge and assess ICT contracts to deliver best value.
  • Ensuring ICT budgets across the council are aligned to meet user needs & aspirations.
  • A technology roadmap that leads to greater resilience and security, reduces single points of failure, meets changing requirements, offers better value and is flexible and adaptable for the future.

The new Digital Strategy sets out a vision to integrate digital as part of the Council’s organisational change and improvement activities whilst building on the successes achieved to date.

It has been developed with support from the Local Government Digital Office for Scotland and is aligned to the National Digital Strategy for Scotland and is based on best practice set out by Audit Scotland in their key characteristics for a digital council.

The Digital Strategy is supported by a high-level implementation plan that outlines a series of projects and initiatives to deliver on both strategies.

Councillor Derek Louden, chair of the Corporate Resources Committee, which approved the strategies, said: “I’m delighted that the new ICT and Digital Strategies have been approved.  They support the requirements to deliver a forward-thinking and digitally-enabled council over the coming years whilst delivering more efficiencies, savings, and improved services to our customers. 

“Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire Council workforce have embraced new technologies quickly and ICT is essential in supporting a blend of workstyles and supports how we deliver Council services in the future. 

“This alongside our new Digital Strategy will allow the Council to utilise technology to work smarter, streamline, standardise and automate our business processes and procedures. 

He added: “The approved strategies underline the Council’s clear and progressive approach to continually improving ICT and digital services for the benefit of customers and staff.”