CivTech innovators are in prime position to be able to augment the public sector response to the coronavirus

The Scottish Government’s digital services division has vowed to do everything in its power to ‘continue to serve the people of Scotland’ during the coronavirus crisis. The Digital Directorate, which provides centralised IT services for government, has undertaken to utilise its resources to help staff and agencies to carry on delivering vital public services as the country gets to grips with tackling the unprecedented social and economic effects of the pandemic. Colin Cook, Director Digital, Scottish Government, said: “In these unprecedented times digital solutions have a huge role to play as critical national infrastructure – in combatting isolation, in healthcare settings, and to allow work and education to take place at home.“ The Digital Directorate’s response to Covid-19 is threefold. First, we provide the technical backbone that allows the business of government to continue. Our systems power the Scottish Government and much of the wider public sector. We’re working to make sure staff are able to work, whether from home or the office, and continue to serve the people of Scotland. We’ve greatly increased home-working capacity, and are supporting colleagues to carry on with the job, wherever they may be.” He added: “Secondly, we’re looking at how we can provide a channel for Scotland’s innovative tech businesses to help tackle the challenges we now face. CivTech has proved how businesses and the public sector can work together to improve services and address complex issues and there’s a great opportunity to build on its success. There has been an amazing response so far, with many businesses coming forward with ideas and offering to partner with us.” He said: “Finally, we’re aware digital participation is more important than ever. It’s clear that access to the digital world will be quite literally a lifeline for those in isolation, and will help business, education and everyday life in Scotland continue. We’ve done some great things through the Digital Participation Charter and now we are stepping up our response. We are working with ScotlandIS and others in the digital sector to see how we can make sure no-one is left behind in these challenging times, looking at what can be done to provide training and devices to those who are not yet online.”