“Scotland’s Digital Future: A Strategy for Scotland”

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 27 October 2016.

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Photo of Adam Tomkins Adam Tomkins Conservative

5. To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to review the report, “Scotland’s Digital Future: A Strategy for Scotland”. (S5O-00265)

Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government’s commitment to refresh its existing digital strategy was detailed in the programme for government announcement. The refreshed strategy will set out how we will take forward our digital ambitions under the vision of realising

“Scotland’s full potential in a digital world”,

and will demonstrate the role that digital can play in delivering this Government’s priorities and ambitions for Scotland.

Photo of Adam Tomkins Adam Tomkins Conservative

Information technology employs around 70,000 people in Scotland and contributes about £3 billion to our economy. The Scottish Government’s skills investment plan for the sector has identified that there could be up to 11,000 IT job opportunities every year until 2020. However, in recent conversations with business organisations in Glasgow, I have listened to numerous concerns that business is finding it difficult to fill software jobs. Is the Scottish Government confident that our schools, colleges and universities are producing people with the right skills to fit the needs of business?

Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

Mr Tomkins has raised a very fair point. We will cover skills and education, as well as the approach to science, technology, engineering and maths—STEM—subjects, in ensuring that we calibrate all our systems to support both the public and private sectors, and in improving our capability as it relates to digital so that we can release the potential in our country. Of course, we have to make progress on connectivity, but having the right people with the right skills is absolutely critical. We will focus our attention on that when we refresh and publish our forthcoming strategy.

Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

How will digital technologies be used to improve the way in which public services are delivered? How could that help to tackle digital exclusion?

Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

There is a fantastic opportunity to redesign some of our public services, to focus on the digital-first approach, and to be more effective and efficient

. Revenue Scotland is an example of an organisation that has been very efficient in how it has adapted and created systems around a digital-first approach. We want real customer focus, a “once for Scotland” approach and a calibration of our systems to make them effective and efficient in serving the needs of our citizens through taking advantage of the digital opportunities that are before us.