Councils band together for joint chief digital officer

A group of 25 Scottish local authorities are joining forces to recruit a shared chief digital officer to work across the sector.

The chief digital officer will establish a digital transformation partnership to improve how local services work and how councils serve citizens.

The 25 councils have also pooled resources to fund a digital team for three years, which will be shared by the participating councils.

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A digital transformation strategy for local government was developed at the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 and approved by SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) and the Local Government Digital Transformation Board.

The chief digital officer will be expected to turn the strategy into actions that have immediate impact as well as setting the long-term digital direction for local government.

The aim is for them to work with all the councils to build a portfolio of collaborative initiatives and projects that utilise digital technologies to reduce cost of services and improve outcomes.

As well as working with the participating councils, the chief digital officer will also collaborate with other public sector partners such as the Scottish Government, SOCITM, SEEMiS, NHS National Shared Services and the Improvement Service on best practice, wider public sector strategic direction and new shared services and capacities.

COSLA president Councillor David O’Neill said: “With successful national digital transformation projects such as myjobscotland and tellmescotland already in place and delivering efficiencies across local government, this exciting new role will harness our expertise further by enhancing the innovative thinking which already exists within our workforce and strengthening the service we offer to our communities.”

The Scottish Government has welcomed the initiative.

Cabinet secretary for finance Derek Mackay said: “The Scottish Government welcomes the action that councils are taking to drive digital transformation and improve local services for citizens and communities across Scotland.

“Digital technology allows us to build and deliver services that meet the needs and expectations of their users and we will continue to collaborate with councils to innovate and improve the efficiency of public services and the organisations that provide them.

“The appointment of a chief digital officer for local government will strengthen strategic leadership and influence good practice across the sector, and we look forward to working closely with the successful candidate in the future.”

Further information about the role, which has a closing date of 16 June, can be found here.

Colin Marrs

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