Scottish Government ‘should appoint a digital leader’

A report published today, focusing on the digital transformation of public services in Scotland, highlights the need to “accelerate the pace of change to ensure Scotland reaps the opportunities offered by new technologies”. It says that the Scottish Government should make a “high profile” appointee responsible for leading the country’s digital transformation.

The report, ‘Smart Citizens, Smart City Regions – Delivering Digital Public Services in Scotland’, is published by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), ScotlandIS, The Royal Society of Edinburgh and BT Scotland, and calls for “distinct and high level leadership”. The digital leader would provide a “driving force and would report to the Scottish Cabinet to ensure that digital transformation gets the high level support and oversight needed to make it successful”.

The report’s recommendations focus on leadership, pace of change, digital skills within the public sector and education. Its message is that “digital is here and can be an enabler”, but it needs public sector leaders in Scotland to “light the way”. The challenge, as the report sees it, is for the public sector “to take the reins”.

Claire Mack, director of policy and place at SCDI, said: “We know the economic challenges that face us are significant and using digital technologies to create a nation of smart citizens and smart city regions in Scotland will help to prepare us for these challenges.”