Issue 1: December 2011

SOPRA GROUP: ONE GOVCAMP PARTNER'S PERSPECTIVE

By Alison McLaughlin, Head of Scottish Public Sector, Sopra Group

SOPRA Group is characteristic of the types of organisations that are supporting the development of Digital Scotland. It is a Paris headquartered international company with Scottish roots. There are 300 employees operating in Scotland, serving clients across all sectors of the economy and society in IT consultancy, services and support. Partly because of the global experience of the company staff are able to understand how enhanced Digital Participation can help develop public service provision, education, employment and citizen engagement.

Alison McLaughlin, Head of Public Services in Scotland, was clear when speaking at Govcamp that “improving digital participation is critical to how we in Scotland can continue to afford to deliver a high standard of public services, using technology to communicate between service users and providers where appropriate. So I am delighted that Sopra Group has supported both the GovCamp Scotland event in November and has become a founding signatory of the Digital Participation Charter”.

The company is also aware that access to advanced technologies needs to be supported by access to learning how to use such technologies, irrespective of age, gender or level of technical expertise. That is one of the reasons that they have signed up to the Digital Participation Charter.

In other words, collaboration is both how we support engagement in Digital Scotland and it is how we achieve the technical innovation and development that will be new thinking, new practices, new forms of service delivery and new business models. It is about changing mindsets.

McLaughlin argues: “Everyone living and working in Scotland is a stakeholder in this. We need to work together across sectors so that the service and financial benefits of ICT investment to citizens and public sector is understood by everybody involved.

One of the most appealing factors in here is that Scotland’s digital opportunity turns crucially upon the prospect for collaboration across sectors, between different scales of organisation and between individuals and public and private bodies. In order to facilitate the potential sharing and collaboration in technology and innovation, the founding partners of the Digital Charter ourselves have to be prepared to pool resources so that we create a platform from which the drive for a successful Digital Scotland can take off.

In other words, collaboration is both how we support engagement in Digital Scotland and it is how we achieve the technical innovation and development that will be new thinking, new practices, new forms of service delivery and new business models. It is about changing mindsets.

GovCamp and the Digital Participation Charter give us a strong basis on which to start improved collaboration across the sectors working in Scotland. The challenge for us all is to maintain the momentum that we have achieved over the past few months.”

By Alison McLaughlin, Head of Scottish Public Sector, Sopra Group

Issue 1: December 2011

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