For the last three years Sopra Steria has partnered with the Scottish Government Digital Transformation Service, supporting 20 different departments and executive agencies to introduce new and enhanced citizen-centred services.
In response to a growing demand for its services and expertise, the Scottish Government Digital Transformation Service (DTS) named Sopra Steria as its strategic partner in late 2019 – to provide additional capacity and capabilities to support digital transformation programmes across public sector bodies in Scotland.
Since then, Sopra Steria has provided expert guidance – as an extension of the DTS team – to around 60 digital transformation projects for a diverse range of organisations, such as NHS Scotland, The Scottish Exchequer and Transport Scotland.
With Sopra Steria embedded as its digital partner, DTS has been able to increase the critical support it provides across the public sector, helping government organisations to identify more efficient ways of working, utilise innovation and evidence-based decision making, and deliver user-centred services in line with the Digital Scotland Service Standard – a set of 14 criteria that all organisations delivering public services should work towards.
Stuart Park, Sopra Steria Account Manager, explained: “The type of support we’ve delivered to individual organisations has very much depended on their specific needs, including the level of in-house capacity and skills.
“In most cases we’ve provided a whole team to run a ‘discovery’, where the context of a new service is understood and user needs are defined. Our human-centred design approach means we always design services around the needs of people, to ensure they meet the intended policy outcomes and will work in the context of people’s lives. From the outset of any project, we work with anyone who will be affected by changes – using inclusive and accessible research and design methods to support participation.”
‘Discovery’ is the first phase of a digital transformation programme and part of a development lifecycle that ensures an agile and user-centred approach. This includes subsequent phases – defined as ‘alpha’, ‘beta’ and ‘live’ – that take a project from understanding the context and user needs, to prototyping potential solutions, to the scoping and implementation of a minimal viable product and fully live service.
Over the last three years, Sopra Steria – alongside DTS – has supported numerous organisations with a variety of these stages, but predominantly at the beginning of their transformation journeys.
This has included work with Marine Scotland to explore how it could provide a new grant application experience as it transitioned out of the European Union; supporting Education Scotland to discover how digital learning will affect the future of education; and helping the Scottish Government to improve access to public services by providing safe and easy ways for citizens to prove their identity.
The partnership between Sopra Steria and DTS also enabled a quick response to urgent and often unplanned cross-public sector needs, for example, COVID-19 and welcoming Ukrainian refugees to Scotland.
Critically, all work has adopted the Scottish Approach to Service Design (SAtSD), a framework that encourages the people of Scotland to be active participants in the definition, design and delivery of their public services.
Stuart added: “It’s been incredibly rewarding to help ensure that new and upgraded services are being designed with user needs, accessibility and cost effectiveness built in from day one. Our close working relationship with DTS and those at the forefront of delivering public services has helped make a positive difference to the lives of Scottish citizens.”
Reflecting on the success of the partnership over the past three years, Liz Craig, Service Owner at the Scottish Government Digital Transformation Service, said:
“With its specialist expertise and broad public sector experience, Sopra Steria has helped us expand the service we provide and support more digital transformation programmes, which has ultimately enhanced the experience of those accessing public services in Scotland.”