The Scottish Digital Academy - working with training providers

The Scottish Digital Academy is developing a new assurance model, and we’re inviting training providers to apply to the Dynamic Purchasing System.

Article by Lee Dunn, Head of the Scottish Digital Academy


We have an established relationship with industry and training providers.  When we don’t have capacity or capability to provide specialised professional learning, we partner with suppliers to make sure we can deliver training for the public sector. This is an exciting time for change and we’re inviting training providers to enter our route to market.


The Dynamic Purchasing System

Scottish Government Procurement created the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) to provide the Scottish public and third sector with a quick route to market for digital technology and cyber security services. This ensures suppliers have equal opportunity to access public sector contracts.

It’s a two stage procurement process similar to a framework agreement – suppliers apply to join and they’re evaluated against minimum selection criteria prior to being accepted. The second stage uses a mini-competition process for contract specific tender opportunities.

Suppliers can join at any time, this makes it an ideal route to market for buyers procuring specialist digital services and allowing relatively new suppliers access to public sector contracts. Suppliers who don’t meet the selection criteria can reapply to join at any point.


What are the benefits of joining the dynamic purchasing system?

Scottish Government, including the SDA and most public sector organisations can use the DPS to issue invitations to tender for Digital Training contracts.

Some of the benefits suppliers can expect:

  • Easy to join
  • Wide scope of requirements
  • All call-offs published in a single place
  • No limits on the number suppliers admitted to a lot
  • Open to suppliers of any size
  • Applications focus on experience to provide evidence of suitability


What type of training provider are we looking for?

The digital, technology and cyber services DPS is split into 4 lots and suppliers can apply to be on any combination.

The SDA will use Lot 3 – Digital Training Services. Any supplier wishing to work in partnership with us must be registered on Lot 3.

This lot is focused on digital training services and bespoke development such as:

  • Standard ICT training courses
  • Project Management Training
  • Off the shelf training packages for commonly used applications such as Microsoft 365
  • Bespoke Training development services
  • Training Analysis and Strategy development
  • Train the Trainer services
  • Individual Training coaches and Train the Trainer

We encourage any supplier providing training within this category to apply.


Assurance Model

We’re developing a new assurance model, to enable us to list professional learning opportunities and events on our website that are offered by a third party or other supplier.  We expect to begin a process of assurance for this purpose from summer 2023. The process will be linked to the DPS, in that any supplier wishing to add their learning opportunities to our website must first be approved.  This ensures quality and standards in the offer that we promote.

We’ll issue more information about assurance in the coming months.


Apply to join the dynamic purchasing system

The digital, technology and cyber services dynamic purchasing system will run for 4 years from the 1st April 2023 until 31st March 2027 and is open for applications (use the link to access the supplier guide).

The minimum criteria and full descriptions of the lots can be found in the contract notice on the following webpage:

Login – Public Contracts Scotland

The Single Procurement Document can be found by going to PCS-Tender and once you have created a user account you’ll be presented with a Dashboard. Under “PQQs open to all Suppliers” you can search for PQQ_6104 which will take you to the application. Once you have “expressed interest” in the PQQ you will be able to create a response and start filling out the information.

SPD title: Scottish Procurement: Digital, Technology and Cyber Services – Dynamic Purchasing System

Project Code: 23070

PQQ code: PQQ_6104


About us

In realising our aim, we organise our work into thematic priorities as illustrated in our strategic model. It outlines the themes that will build capability and promote collaborative practices through a shared language and aspiration.

Our aim and ambition

The Scottish Digital Academy is part of the People, Strategy and Corporate Services Division within the Scottish Government Digital Directorate. We provide high quality professional learning and agile coaching to support digital skills and leadership capability development across the public and third sectors in Scotland, building capacity to support transformation. In doing so, our team supports the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) profession by providing opportunities for up-skilling and re-skilling, supporting all organisations and employees regardless of job role and grade.

It’s our aim to become the digital skills provider of choice, by working collaboratively with all our stakeholders and partners to secure sustained improvement in building and enhancing digital skills.

We do this by creating opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding, collaborate within strong professional communities, develop digital leadership capability and focus on nurturing digital mind-sets, innovation, partnership and community.

We take a user centred approach and we put the people we serve at the heart of everything we do. We use digital thinking and approaches beyond the use of technology, considering the expansion and use of the methods and approaches developed within the digital sector which support continuous improvement. This enables us to better adapt and respond to changing circumstances, strengthening our work and providing a better service for those engaging with our offer.

In delivering our aim, we have identified a series of thematic priorities which have been drawn from the principles of the Digital Strategy.

They are described in detail within our Strategic Business Plan 2021-2025 and they underpin our work and our annual objectives. The model illustrates the relationship between these themes, the context and our ambition to develop learning opportunities. We recognise digital culture and the need to adapt leadership styles at all job levels, championing change and empowerment.

Developing a skilled digital workforce drives our professional learning and training offer, equipping people with the skills they need to thrive in a digital world, ensuring that organisations are planning for the digital roles and services that they need now and in the future.

We are data-driven, using innovative and sustainable approaches to share our challenges and to co-develop and co-produce solutions in partnership with others. We make effective use of technology enabled opportunities to deliver high quality learning experiences.

We recognise that digitisation works best when we collaborate at community, local regional and national level and when we work across the public, private, voluntary and academic sectors.

In becoming the digital skills provider of choice, the Scottish Digital Academy has delivered and facilitated high quality professional learning and training, with a specific focus on transformation and digital skills.

Our quality assurance and annual monitoring process drives our ambition, informing our objectives and the short, medium and long term outcomes associated with our work. Our thematic priorities are driven by the principles and actions outlined within the Digital Strategy, where the characteristics are necessary for true digital government. As the strategy is jointly owned by local and national government, it will underpin our work for the years to come.

Our offer

Our offer of professional learning during  2021/22 saw a transition away from a cost recovery model to a new target operating model. This new hybrid approach meant that more courses were funded via the Scottish Government and offered at no cost to organisations or delegates. Where there was a larger demand for skills development, we procured courses from a third party learning provider, passing on the savings of procuring once at scale. As this new model evolves, our offer has changed from a one plus one model (courses + agile coaching service) to two plus one model (core courses + enhanced offer + agile coaching service).

The primary focus of our professional learning offer is on data, IT operations, product and delivery, quality assurance and testing, technical design and delivery, user-centred design and cyber-security and information assurance. This broadly reflects the DDaT profession, which in Scotland is divided into 8 job families. In addition, we place emphasis on developing leadership capability.

Through programme assurance, we also signpost to existing opportunities offered through our partners and stakeholders.

Core courses are delivered by our team with support from training partners. All our training partners are registered on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) and are subject to procurement and robust quality assurance processes, ensuring that delegates receive high quality professional learning experiences which are contextualised for the Scottish public sector. For example, where appropriate and relevant, courses must now include themes such as the Scottish Approach to Service Design (SAtSD) and the Digital Scotland Service Standard (DSSS).

The enhanced offer is based on our core provision and delivered via procurement or third party signposting. This changes on demand and is aligned to the development priorities at any given time. In 2021, we promoted several courses from Microsoft, the Service Design Academy and The Scottish Business Resilience Centre. By working with our training partners, we facilitated accreditation and certification in Scrum Mastery and Azure Architecture Design.

Agile coaching is delivered by our own team or agile coaching partner at a subsidised rate. This is a custom offer based on a statement of work and may also include bespoke training and support for an entire organisation.

Is the Scottish Digital Academy part of the Scottish Government?

Yes. The Scottish Digital Academy sits within the Digital Directorate – People, Strategy and Corporate Services Division.

I’m a learning provider. Can I partner with you?

We work with a range of suppliers and contractors. If you wish to discuss your services with us, we would be happy to learn more. We are unable to purchase services and products directly and all contracts are procured. Suppliers must be registered on Public Contracts Scotland.

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