In 2010, at the request of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, I commenced a detailed review of the use and strategic management of information and communications technology within the public sector in Scotland. Use of this technology is pervasive in our society and touches many aspects of our daily lives. However, my review sought to understand specifically how it is being adopted in the public sector, not only to deliver efficiency benefits but also how it is helping improve the quality of public services and the ease in which they are accessed.
And of course a key consideration of the review was the question of whether investments in ICT are delivering best value for money and if not where opportunities exist to improve on the existing status.
The review covered the health service; local authorities; Scottish Government departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies; police and fire services and also universities and colleges which, although not formally part of the public sector, rely on government funding for the majority of their income.
Many public sector organisations and individuals provided input and advice on the current landscape and also their views on how progress could be made across the spectrum of activities supported by ICT.
During my work I also engaged extensively with companies and groups within the ICT industry and gained their perspective on the public sector's use of ICT and on its interaction with the industry's suppliers.
I am grateful for the information, advice and assistance provided by these and other stakeholders in the development of this document.