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A Changing Nation: How Scotland will thrive in a digital world - Progress report 2021 – 2024

A report summarising progress on the delivery of the commitments set out in Scotland’s digital strategy covering digital connectivity; digital skills; digital inclusion; digital ethics; supporting businesses to become digital businesses; and the reform of digital government services.


Scotland’s Digital Strategy (“the Strategy”), "A changing nation: how Scotland will thrive in a digital world" was published on 11 March 2021. It was a collaboration between the Scottish Government and Local Government, represented by COSLA and the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government.

It was published as we were coming to terms with the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the acceleration of digital transformation across all sectors. It set out a vision to ensure that Scotland is recognised throughout the world as a vibrant, inclusive, greener, open and outward-looking digital nation.

The Strategy aimed to ensure that Scotland can fully embrace the transformative power of technology by realising the power of data to improve services, increase efficiency and deliver better outcomes. It also focused on how digital technology is designed and implemented, guaranteeing that it is applied in an ethical, secure, efficient and user-centred way.

It made a number of commitments covering three broad objectives:

  • People and place” – that all businesses and people should have access to good quality connectivity; the skills and confidence to use digital technology and be reassured that digital technology is used in an ethical way;
  • “A strong digital economy” – to help. all businesses become digital businesses, and to support our digital technology sector; and
  • “Digital Government and Services” – to change the culture of public service organisations so that they deliver digital services that are resilient, accessible, and easy to use.

This report summarises progress made in delivering these commitments.

It is important to note though, that the strategy was written between March 2020 and March 2021 in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The full impacts of the pandemic could not have been foreseen at time of publication, which has resulted in considerable changes in how we have delivered some of the strategy commitments.

This is particularly in response to the economic impacts of the pandemic, where new and updated evidence suggests that economic recovery will continue to be uneven and prolonged[1].

What also could not have been foreseen at the time of publication was the subsequent geo-political crisis, and the increases in global commodity and energy prices, which has led to significant cost pressures across the economy[2]. This in turn has affected public finances, with major impacts on budget deficits[3], and knock-on impacts on the funding available to the Scottish Government and Local Government[4].

The commitments set out in the strategy have remained unaltered over this time, but we have faced an altered and more challenging fiscal environment in which to address them.

The progress set out in this report should, therefore, be viewed with the changed financial context in mind.

It should also be remembered that many of the commitments in the strategy are multi-year and include statements of ambition rather than specific projects or programmes. With this in mind much of the progress set out in this update represents a snapshot in time of where progress currently is, rather than the end state.


Digital Office for Scottish Local Government

Digital Directorate, Scottish Government

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