Food Standards Scotland are the public sector food body for Scotland and our primary interest is consumer protection.
We do that through ensuring food is safe to eat and ensuring consumers know what they are eating and improving nutrition.
I think the big challenges for Food Standards Scotland are probably no different to any other public sector body, obviously in the current economic climate it’s really about finding how we can do more for less.
The technology challenges that Food Standards Scotland face kind of relate to the journey we have had in the last couple of years from moving from the UK Food Standards Agency to Food Standards Scotland, so we’ve got a lot of legacy systems we need to look at in terms of developing future solutions as part of the Scots environment.
We engaged through DTS because we became aware of the service that was offered through some of our Senior Managers attending the Scottish Leadership Forum. It became quite clear then that the services that you do provide would allow us to take stock of where we are as a new organisation and really set the benchmark of where we want to be in terms of taking forward Scotland’s Digital Strategy.
The first exercise DTS carried out for Food Standards Scotland was the Digital Maturity Model. We felt that was a good place to start because obviously it does what it says on the tin and really allows us to see where we are as an organisation. But actually to see how that output matched with our perception of where we were, and it was quite a good exercise for us to start off with because we got not only the Senior Management Team’s perspective, but we did get a good representation from a cross section of our organisation.
The benefits of having DTS come in and really look at the technological landscape of Food Standards Scotland was really beneficial from my perspective because it allowed someone to come in that were able to take an objective view of where we were. I think we kind of knew some of the areas we had to really look at in terms of improvement and development, but to get DTS to come in and to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes was really useful from our perspective.
The staff have found having DTS in the office a really positive experience, the process mapping in particular is a good example of where you really see that coming to fruition. I think the tendency with process mapping is staff can sometimes see that as being a little bit suspicious, you know, looking to make efficiency savings, which is true from our perspective, we do want to make efficiency savings but the support that DTS have given us through the process mapping exercise has really opened staff’s eyes to the fact that it is more about them doing their job more efficiently to get better value for money.
The user research was the one we did struggle to get our heads round to be honest at the start of the process, but DTS were really supportive in terms of guiding us what user research meant both from the perspective of the work that DTS would do for us but as an organisation, and the feedback we have been getting from staff that were involved in user research work is really positive in that it’s kind of opened their eyes to see how their work fits in to the bigger picture and really gets us away from a bit of a silo approach in mentality we sometimes fall into by default.
The thing I’d say to other organisation who are looking to use the DTS services, or at least look at their digital landscape and how they want to move forward as an organisation, is definitely to get in touch with DTS. The value they’ve added just through dialogue and discussions on a day to day basis, you know, picking up the phone and asking for a bit of advice has been really beneficial.