Report calls for Scottish 'digital tsar'

Written by Alan Robertson on 19 January 2016 in News

A digital tsar for Scotland should be appointed to offer “leadership, advice and challenge at the most senior levels of government”, according to an industry report.

The appointment of a first ‘chief digital officer’ for Scotland features among a raft of recommendations designed to increase economic productivity.

The report, which has been drawn up by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), ScotlandIS, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and BT Scotland, calls for similar posts to be created in all public bodies across the county.

Related content

Socitm Scotland 2015: Scotland leads information revolution
Strengthening communities: how technology is raising service quality and building public trust

The proportion of households and businesses able to access next generation broadband has more than doubled in the last four years, with 95 per cent of premises across Scotland promised access to fibre broadband by the end of March 2018.

A chief digital officer should therefore be recruited to help drive progress “from infrastructure to economic growth and public service improvements”, the Digital Solutions to the Productivity Puzzle report claims. 

It also calls for the creation of a Scottish Productivity Commission, modelled on work already done in the likes of Australia and New Zealand, to provide independent research and monitor the performance of government as well as other sectors.

Clear targets – to be measured against next year and then in 2020 - should be put in place to help move businesses towards the upper end of the Digital Maturity Index, which ranks firms in six categories according to their digital maturity. Less than one in five (18 per cent) Scottish businesses currently feature in the top three.  

Ross Martin, SCDI chief executive, said poor productivity compared to pre-recession levels has “bedevilled” the Scottish economy, holding back growth and prosperity.

“We recommend the appointment of the first chief digital officer for Scotland to provide leadership, advice and challenge at the most senior levels of government on the frontier of technological progress and similar appointments across the public and private sectors,” added Martin.

“There is a range of positive work in progress on digitalisation and some great examples of businesses using digital technologies to better meet the needs of their customers. However, with economic headwinds strengthening, becoming a digital world leader is essential if Scotland is to transition from a fragile to an agile economy.”

The report also underlines the need for immediate action to recruit, train and upskill teaching staff amid concerns over a “national shortage” of computer science teachers. Digital should be given a central role in teacher training and continuous professional development courses for every teacher, it adds.

Share this page



Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Interview: CDDO chief Lee Devlin on the ‘move from being disruptive to collaborative’
23 May 2023

In the first of a series of exclusive interviews, the head of government’s ‘Digital HQ’ talks to PublicTechnology about the Central Digital and Data Office’s work to unlock £8bn...

HMRC finds strong support for online Child Benefit claims – but ‘digital by default’ would cause problems for one in five users
17 May 2023

Department publishes findings of study conducted ahead of planned digitisation initiative

Whitehall shared-services implementation requires funding and focus, MPs warn
9 May 2023

Public Accounts Committee warns that lack of support could imperil delivery

Government full FoI responses fall below 40% for first time
2 May 2023

Treasury, Defra, Foreign Office, DLUHC and Cabinet Office each provided all requested information to no more than a quarter of inquiries

Related Sponsored Articles

Proactive defence: A new take on cyber security
16 May 2023

The traditional reactive approach to cybersecurity, which involves responding to attacks after they have occurred, is no longer sufficient. Murielle Gonzalez reports on a webinar looking at...