An ambition to achieve ”world leading" levels of digital inclusion is at the heart of plans to equip Scotland for the technological transformation of the post-coronavirus (COVID-19) world.
The updated Digital Strategy, developed by the Scottish Government and COSLA in consultation with business and the third sector, also highlights a shared commitment to deliver digital public services that are accessible to all and simple to use.
On the economy, it recognises the potential for technology and digital ways of working to support Scotland’s post-pandemic recovery and its environmental targets.
Setting out the vision for every business to become a digital business, the strategy makes clear that improved digital education for children and continued upskilling of the existing workforce will be crucial if Scotland is to keep pace internationally.
The strategy also aims to support the success of Scotland's tech industry as an innovative and global player, fostering a network of digital and data talent and attracting inward investment.
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.”
A Changing Nation: How Scotland Will Thrive In A Digital World focuses on the role digital will play in three key areas: people, place and society, business, and government and public services
Connecting Scotland is a collaboration between Scottish Government, Local Government and the Third Sector, with SCVO as lead delivery partner, developed in response to the pandemic. It provides data, training, support and devices, so that the most vulnerable and digitally excluded people can access services and support and connect with friends and family.