Report: Preparing Scotland digitally for independence

Ben Wray

Paper examines digital transition upon Scottish independence

NEW IT systems for an independent Scotland would cost about £1.25bn and could be implemented over a three-year transition period, but can be built in such a way that avoids previous pitfall’s in proprietary-software and can recoup income through revenue from optimal digital systems in for instance Customs and Central Banking. 

This is some of the key findings of a new Common Weal paper, ‘Preparing Scotland Digitally for Independence’, which can be read in full here

The paper is part of the White Paper Project and is authored by Gordon Morgan, researcher with over forty years of experience in the ICT industry.

The paper begins to develop answers to the following questions:

– What new computer systems and changes to existing systems will be required before we can operate the new Scottish state independently of the rest of the UK?

– How long will it take to implement these systems and make the changes?

– How much will it cost?

– How can we best ensure the new systems are reliable, accessible to citizens and users, reflect their individual needs and when circumstances change are easily updated?

– What can we do prior to a vote for independence to ensure the timescales and costs are minimised and that the systems developed reflect the needs and wishes of the Scottish people to live in a fair, just and prosperous nation?

The paper proposes that the Scottish Government could start moving away from proprietary software approaches now to more secure, reliable and democratic open-source software models.

“The most robust systems are those which are designed in public, use open published code with no ownership, are subject to user and peer review and are rolled out after rigorous testing by users and the ICT community at large. This has given us Linux and a host of robust, secure, free-to-use software,” Morgan argues.

Other recent White Paper Project paper’s from Common Weal include proposals for a Scottish Central Bank, how to design a tax system and a new approach to social security.