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by Jenni Davidson
12 March 2021
Updated digital strategy for Scotland focuses on inclusion and coronavirus recovery

Scotland graphic - Image credit: Holyrood

Updated digital strategy for Scotland focuses on inclusion and coronavirus recovery

“World leading” digital inclusion is a key theme of the new digital strategy for Scotland, which also sets out the role digital will play in the recovery from coronavirus.

The updated strategy, ‘A Changing Nation: How Scotland Will Thrive In A Digital World’, was developed by the Scottish Government and COSLA in consultation with business and the third sector.

It also highlights a shared commitment to deliver digital public services that are accessible to all and simple to use.

A consultation on the draft strategy between September and December 2020, received more than 200 responses from across Scotland.

The strategy has three themes: People and Place, A Strong Digital Economy and Digital Government and Services.

Key programmes within these themes focus on improving broadband connectivity, bringing the digitally excluded online, increasing digital skills, helping businesses to work digitally, boosting the tech sector and ensuring government services are designed around the people who use them.

Innovation minister Ivan McKee said: "Digital technology is a source of incredible opportunity – to open new markets, work in new ways, tackle climate change and make links across the globe.

“The pandemic reminds us every day that access to the internet is an essential lifeline and I’m determined to ensure that no one is left behind.

"Progress has been made to address this with Connecting Scotland bringing 55,000 people online by the end of this year.

“Now we want to go further and achieve world-leading levels of inclusion – as part of an ethical digital nation in which everybody has the skills, connectivity and devices required to reap the benefits of technology.

“The response to the pandemic has seen the public and private sectors deliver new services online and at speed.

“We’ll build on that momentum to support Scotland’s people and its businesses to thrive in the digital world.”

COSLA resources spokesperson Gail MacGregor said: “Digital technologies are changing the way we live our daily lives.

“The Digital Strategy for Scotland sets out an ambitious vision of a Scotland where everyone has the necessary skills and connectivity to thrive and where technology is used to improve access to services designed around the needs of people.

“The response to the pandemic has sped up the pace of digital transformation and has demonstrated the progress that can be made when we work together.

“Local government will continue to take on a leadership role in achieving this shared vision of an open and inclusive digital Scotland where no one is left behind.”

The strategy was also welcomed by tech industry body ScotlandIS.

Karen Meechan, interim CEO of ScotlandIS said: “Scotland has an opportunity to build one of the world’s best technology ecosystems.

2From tech scalers to embedding digital in our learning, business and social lives, Scotland can create a truly digital nation.

“The Scottish Government’s strategy recognises the opportunity,  but it can only be delivered with financial backing, strong leadership and a partnership approach with Scotland’s digital sector from the outset.

“We look forward to working in partnership with the Scottish Government on the strategy’s delivery.”

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