Data Strategy governance supports delivery

Written by
Eddie Follan and Jonathan Cameron

Scotland’s first dedicated Data Strategy for health and social care was published in February 2023. Since then, we have been working with our partners to identify and agree the key components we must implement in order to achieve its ambitions. The governance structure has been a key element of this work, with the establishment of the Data Delivery Sub-board which has oversight of the Strategy’s deliverables and programmes of work.

We have set out a clearly defined purpose comprising the following responsibilities.

  • Effectively monitor progress of deliverables: One of main purposes of the sub-board is to allow COSLA and the Scottish Government to oversee the development of the deliverables and programmes of work in support of the Data Strategy. This also provides our delivery partners with a strategic overview that encourages transparency, clarity, and co-ordination.
  • Assess and prioritise delivery activity: A vital aspect of our work is to evaluate the deliverables to effectively prioritise our work, understand and mitigate risks, and to seek resolutions to potential delivery challenges.
  • Triage commissioned data work: The sub-board provides a single focus allowing the triage of planned data work commissioned for health and social care sector, ensuring this reflects the vision and ambitions of the Data Strategy. We are also committed to encouraging the convergence of commissioned activity wherever possible.

To ensure that planned data work supports the vision and ambitions of the Data Strategy, we act through the delegated authority of the overall Data Board, reporting on progress and escalating as required. We provide guidance and direction to agreed programmes of work. The sub-board will also explore any issues arising from major programmes, operational matters, and policy developments.

In addition, the sub-board will oversee the setting of milestones for delivering programmes of work, the prioritisation of deliverables and supporting communications activity. Working closely with our stakeholders, we will provide regular updates on programmes of work, and reinforce relationships to better understand the delivery landscape.

Initial activity at the sub-board includes:

  • Consideration of the potential benefits of an Information Governance Code of Practice and the scope and options for taking this work forward which focuses on IG as an enabler for data-driven and digital-driven services, demonstrating compliance, and benefits realisation.
  • Development of a prioritisation matrix for the Data Strategy to support a robust methodology for prioritising deliverables associated with the Strategy.
  • Reviewing the analytical tools currently in use across the health and care landscape to understand the principles that should be considered when choosing the right tool for the right task.

The members of the sub-board are keen to put in place the building-blocks required to realise the ambitions of the Data Strategy, translating these into tangible projects and workstreams. We very much look forward to working with our delivery partners and wider stakeholders to deliver the new approaches we all wish to see implemented.

To find out more, please contact us at:

Eddie Follan, Health and Social Care Chief Officer, COSLA

Jonathan Cameron, Deputy Director, Digital Health and Care, Scottish Government

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