What is in the Programme for Government for Scotland’s digital tech sector?

ScotlandIS News | 04.09.2019

What is in the Programme for Government for Scotland’s digital tech sector?

Yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the new bills and initiatives her government is planning until September 2020. The main focus of this Programme for Government is on tackling the climate emergency, but it also includes a number of announcements relevant to the digital technologies sector. Please find the key points below and don’t hesitate to get in touch (svea.miesch@scotlandis.com) if you have any questions or need more details.

AI Strategy for Scotland

Scottish Government has announced the development of an AI Strategy to “help to ensure that Scotland maximises the potential economic and social benefits of AI and sends a strong signal to the world about our ambition”. ScotlandIS, together with SCDI, BT and RSE, we have pushed for such a strategy since last year and are delighted to see this work coming to fruition. We will be closely involved in the development of the strategy and make sure that as many companies as possible can feed in as well.

Digital public services
(incl. potential business opportunities for members)

  • Launch of a programme of digital transformation for the planning system announced, to make better use of digital tech and data.
  • Plans to spend £1.5m on a new digital portal which supports exporters and mentoring and skills support
  • Intention to procure “the digital technology needed for users to plan their journey across all public transport types and active travel” announced.
  • An early version of a digital identity system to be rolled out by the end of 2019 to support Social Security Scotland benefits.


  • Contracts to deliver the R100 broadband programme will be awarded by end of 2019, originally planned for the end of 2018.
  • The recently announced 5G Strategy for Scotland will be driven forward by a 5G Centre, to be established in 2020 and also responsible for developing the approach for 5G Rural First.
  • Scottish Government plans to host a roundtable with mobile & digital providers and businesses to secure their commitment to deliver the 5G strategy and maximise full fibre coverage.
  • Announcement of a Full Fibre Charter for Scotland (not much detail available but it sounds like mobile and broadband providers benefitting from government support would have to contribute to “inclusive growth and a fairer Scotland”). 

Cyber security

  • Investment of over £1 million to drive growth in the cyber security industry, working with ScotlandIS as the cluster management organisation for Scotland’s cyber cluster.
  • Scottish Government and CENSIS will fund an innovation challenge on cyber resilience in IoT.
  • The Public Sector Action Plan on Cyber Resilience will be refreshed by the end of 2019.
  • A second Cyber Scotland Week will be organised, in February 2020, again with strong involvement of ScotlandIS.


  • Principles and frameworks for the ethical use of digital, data and AI are to be developed in 2020.
  • Results of the first phase of research of the Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF are to be released in early 2020.
  • Scottish Government will develop new sources of environmental data to support actions against climate change.
  • The Research Data Scotland service will launch in spring 2020 to support researchers to access and use data about, people, places and businesses for public benefit and to attract investment.


  • Plans to expand the range of Graduate Apprenticeships in critical areas including digital technologies, cyber security and data science.
  • Announcement of a programme of industry and school/college partnerships to inspire students to study cyber security.
  • Scottish Government will make available supported training for neurodivergent people to get into cyber security.
  • Publication of a Future Skills Action Plan, together with the Programme for Government, including the commitment to increase investment in workforce development by further £10m per year from 2020-21, in addition to the current £10m Flexible Workforce Development Fund.


  • Development of a Foreign Direct Investment Growth Plan by summer 2020, focusing support on areas of comparative or emerging advantage, including data science, and aiming to attract technology and low-carbon start-ups to relocate to Scotland.

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