A new set of digital service standards which aim to put people at the heart of public service delivery in Scotland have been unveiled by government.

The Digital Scotland Service Standard replaces the Digital First Service Standard, devised in 2017, and moves in the direction of ‘services not websites’, as it encourages organisations to think differently about the way they approach products and services for members of the public.

Digital services being rolled out by central government will have to comply with a new risk-based approach to assessment – ensuring that the service meets a number of specific criteria – which are being developed by the Digital Assurance Office and will be confirmed in April.

Cat Macaulay, Chief Design Officer at The Scottish Government, welcomed the new standards, saying: “So excited it’s launched! We now have a service standard that is clear about what a service is, the need for services to be inclusive and accessible, and the expectation they are designed with and not for the people that need them.”

In a government blog post, it was said that the Digital First Service Standard ‘helped organisations think differently about how they approach products and services, putting people at the heart of delivery, and adopting tools and processes to promote flexibility, sustainability and continuous improvement’.

It added: “But it’s important that we review the standard and make sure it keeps up with the pace of change. The Digital First Service Standard was introduced in 2017, the same year as the national digital strategy Realising Scotland’s Potential in a Digital World.

“With a new digital strategy for Scotland on the way, which will help us transform our public services and respond to the challenges and opportunities of new and emerging technologies, it’s also important we can support organisations to be responsive and resilient in a time of crisis and to benefit from a shared digital ecosystem.”

The focus is still on making sure services are based on the needs of users and, according to the blog, ‘are sustainable and continuously improving, secure and resilient, and that good technology choices are being made, but we’ve simplified and reduced the number of criteria to help us understand this from 22 to 14.’

Other changes include new guidance to help organisations understand what each criteria means at each stage of delivery and move towards the goal of creating inclusive, accessible and joined-up public services. Read the blog post in full here.