Reimagining and redesigning the delivery of services

Te art of the possible

An event in February will explore the future of digital for local government in Scotland


Autonomous vehicles, the internet of things, virtual and augmented reality, big data, artificial intel- ligence, smart cities applications, 5G, and distributed ledger tech- nology, of which blockchain is one example. Tey all have something in

common; they shift the focus of digital technology away from the desk environment, to the built environment. Whereas our digital and physical world were previ- ously very separate, they are now increasingly integrated. For any organisation this is

significant. “For local government, it is seismic,” a recent post by the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government noted. Te built envi- ronment means the towns, cities, villages, and rural areas in which local government provides services. It requires a change in cultural

mindset, from dwelling on pro- cess and transactions to embrac-

ing the role that technology can play in delivering better outcomes. Te technologies are not just

buzzwords, they are a profound evolution that enable service pro- viders to achieve those outcomes. Tey can facilitate community empowerment, help reimagine and redesign the delivery of services, and improve the way local govern- ment stakeholders work together. Early next year, Scotland Excel,

in partnership with the Digital Office, is hosting Delivering On Digital. It is intended to be an inno- vative approach to demonstrating the ‘art of the possible’ through the application of new technologies in a local government context. Te aim is to accelerate the

pace of change in areas that can have the most beneficial effect, such as information manage- ment, the use of biometrics, and supporting local government employees in the field. “Tere is always a need to man- age expectations,” said Hugh Carr,

Head of Strategic Procurement at Scotland Excel, “but digital trans- formation is now fundamental to local government because of the advantages it will bring to citizens. It’s not a ‘bolt on’, but something which is integral to how councils work across all service areas.” Scotland Excel is the centre of

procurement expertise for local government. Established in 2008, it is a leading non-profit shared service funded by Scotland’s 32 local authorities. Its £1bn contract portfolio sup-

ports the delivery of social care, construction, roads, transport, environment, corporate, educa- tion and ICT services, and achieves annual savings of around £15m. Contracts are designed to encour- age innovation, facilitate policy, support local economies and gen- erate social value for communities. With the Digital Office acting as

a catalyst for change, Scotland Ex- cel provide strategic procurement advice on the digital agenda as it develops in local government. “It includes areas such as coun-

cils moving to the cloud,” added Carr, “making better use of exist- ing collaborative frameworks,

innovative routes to market coun- cils can consider, and sharing knowledge among ICT teams in terms of the technologies in use across the 32 councils - to learn and benefit from each other and bridge gaps.” Collaboration is key to Scotland

Excel’s work, a factor illustrated by its work with SEEMiS, another local government shared service, to procure a robust and sustain- able ICT solution to replace the country’s education management information system used by every council school in Scotland. Te joint team was highly commend- ed for the project in the recent Scottish GO Awards which recog- nise excellence in procurement. Scotland Excel is currently

working on the migration from an- alogue to digital systems in telecare and telehealth. “We’re also keen to look further into how the digital agenda can advance and influence other portfolio areas such as fleet and environment,” said Carr. l

Delivering on Digital, 21 February 2019. FUTURESCOT | WINTER 2018 | 31

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