Article by Lee Dunn, Head of the Scottish Digital Academy
By ldunn | 31 Oct 2023
Developing Public Sector Data Literacy
In partnership, the Scottish Digital Academy and Scottish Government Data Division, Digital Office for Scottish Local Government and Perth and Kinross Council have developed an online learning resource to build data literacy across the public sector.
The resource is available for integration into learning management systems, and is available for download from our website.
In January 2023, the partnership formed a steering group to consider how to iterate and scale the delivery of data literacy skills, based on work that had already been established by Perth and Kinross Council. Contracting with Effini and working with Data Lab, the steering group took forward a proposal to evaluate and develop a resource, which was applicable to local authorities. The resource can also be applied to other settings across the public and third sectors.
Working in partnership
Through the Digital Programme, the Scottish Digital Academy is taking forward a series of work packages, which will enable a more cohesive approach to digital capability. The programme is a key enabler to public service reform by embedding reuse as the norm, driving efficiencies across services, and the development of the Scottish public sector digital ecosystem. Each package contains a number of projects and deliverables which are intended to help find, manage, and develop capability. This is a long term programme that will take a few years to complete, but we’re working in an agile way and you’ll begin to see the first iterations over the coming weeks and months, with further incremental developments as we move into 2024.
We recognise that we cannot do this work alone, and the Digital, Data and Technology Profession within the Scottish Government as well as our partners and stakeholders all have a role to play as we collaborate and co-construct resources for government and the public sector.
We wish to reduce any duplication and effort and identify resources and opportunities that allow us to scale together. This may mean that the Scottish Government leads on activities, or take a supporting role.
What does the resource aim to do?
Organisations rely on information to see what has happened in the past and to support good decisions being made in the future. People using information need to be able to trust it.
By the end of the course, learners will be able to:
- Describe why information is important to their role and organisation.
- Describe that there are different types of data used within an organisation.
- Describe how their actions can create good or bad data.
- Describe why it’s important to care for their data.
Another step towards more collaboration and co-construction
Lee Dunn, Head of the Scottish Digital Academy, indicates that this project is another step towards further partnership with other public sector organisations.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with our partners and we have a long standing relationship with the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government. I’m looking forward to further collaboration and co-construction in the future. In the meantime, I hope that my public and third sector colleagues will find the resource helpful and beneficial to their skills development.”
Verity Hislop, Senior Project Manager, Digital Leadership & Skills, Digital Office for Scottish Local Government highlights partnership working and the exploration of scaling resources.
“Cultivating innovation and efficiency, our collaborative efforts aim to add significant value to the broader public sector landscape. By building upon existing resources and embracing ‘economies of scale’ models, we look forward to a continued partnership with the Scottish Digital Academy and our partners.
Together, we aspire to not only identify but also implement scalable solutions, fostering a collective commitment to supporting our colleagues and enhancing the public sector experience.”
Tom Wilkinson, Chief Data Officer at the Scottish Government, said “This has been a great opportunity to work collaboratively with the Scottish Digital Academy, the Digital Office for Local Government and Perth and Kinross Council. The learning resource addresses an urgent need across the Scottish Public Sector and is part of an overall strategy to help build data skills capability and realise the value of data sharing and reuse in Scotland.”
Elaine Hutcheson, IT Coordinator with Perth and Kinross Council, said “This was a great opportunity to understand how collaborating with the Digital Office, Scottish Digital Academy and Scottish Government colleagues can assist local government to push forward their projects. I hope the development of this data literacy course will benefit all who use it.”
We are looking for people with the talent, skills and ambition to join our Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) professions, to help us shape the future of digital delivery and transform our nation.
The fiscal challenges that we face mean that we need to address the future affordances of digital skills and we know that a system wide approach to digital capability is required. How can the Digital Programme and the DDaT Profession support capability?
Developing digital leadership capacity and capability is at the heart of our plan as we recognise that it exists across all job roles and grades.