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25 Scottish councils seek joint chief digital officer

A group of Scottish councils are creating a digital transformation partnership to drive change across local services

Twenty-five councils in Scotland are jointly looking to recruit a chief digital officer (CDO) to lead a digital transformation partnership across the public sector.

The councils have joined forces – and budgets – to fund a digital team for the next three years in an effort to improve local services.

In late 2015/early 2016, the councils developed a digital transformation strategy, which was approved by the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and the Local Government Digital Transformation Board.

The CDO’s role will be to turn the councils’ strategy into actions that will have an immediate impact and set a long-term direction for local government.

The CDO and his or her team will also create a portfolio of collaboration projects “that exploit digital technologies to reduce cost of services and improve outcomes for citizens”, the councils said.

Jenny Laing, convener for the Scottish Local Government Partnership (SLGP), said digital transformation has huge potential to improve outcomes and advance public sector reform. 

“The agreement to work in partnership through the Local Government Digital Transformation Partnership will ensure strong leadership of the digital transformation strategy, delivering key benefits to our member councils through accelerated realisation of outcomes and the best use of our collective resources,” she said. 

“The SLGP supports the emphasis within the partnership’s objectives on digital services designed to meet the user needs at the heart of local government’s interactions, the focus on collaborative initiatives, and embedding sustainable digital capability across local government.”

Derek Mackay, Scottish cabinet secretary for finance and the constitution, welcomed the move and said that a CDO for local government will “bring strategic leadership and influence good practice across the sector”.

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