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Digital Scotland Service Standard

The service standard aims to make sure that services in Scotland are continually improving and that users are always the focus.

We’re updating the service standard. Contact the digital assurance team (DigitalAssurance@gov.scot) before you start work on a new service to understand what you need to do.

The service standard is a set of 14 criteria that all digital services developed by Scottish Central Government sector organisations and Scottish Government corporate services must meet. This includes services for users (for example submitting an application) or corporate services (for example checking your payslip online).

The standard has 3 themes:

  • Meeting users’ needs
    Design and deliver inclusive and accessible services which meet the needs of users.

  • Providing a service
    Make sure your products and services are sustainable and continually improving.

  • Using the right technology
    Choose tools and technology that let you create a high quality service in a cost effective way.


1. Understanding users and their needs

Develop a deep understanding of users and the problem you’re trying to solve for them.

Read more about point 1

2. Solve a whole problem for users

Work towards creating a service that solves one whole problem for users, working across organisational boundaries where necessary.

Read more about point 2

3. Design and deliver a joined-up experience

Create a service that meets users’ needs by using channels appropriately (online, phone, paper and face to face) and link to other services they might need.

Read more about point 3

4. Help users succeed first time

Build a service that’s simple and intuitive. And test it with users to make sure it works for them.

Read more about point 4

5. Make sure everyone can use the service

Provide a service that everyone can use. This includes disabled people and people who don’t have access to the internet or lack the skills or confidence to use it.need.

Read more about point 5

6. Have a multidisciplinary team

Create a team of people with a diverse mix of skills and expertise that can create and operate the service in a sustainable way.

Read more about point 6

7. Iterate and improve frequently

Create and improve the service using iterative, user-centred methods.

Read more about point 7

8. Create a secure service which protects users’ privacy

Evaluate what data the service will be collecting storing and providing. Understand how government classifies that data, the organisation’s legal responsibilities, and security risks associated with the service.

Read more about point 8

9. Define what success looks like and publish performance data

Identify how your service contributes to Scotland’s national outcomes, how you’ll measure and improve your service over time, and how you’ll share information for the benefit of future services.

Read more about point 9

10. Choose the right tools and technology

Choose tools and technology that let you create a high quality service in a cost effective way. Minimise the cost of changing direction in future.

Read more about point 10

11. Make new source code open

Make all new source code open and reusable, and publish it under appropriate licences. Or if this isn’t possible, provide a convincing explanation of why this can’t be done for specific subsets of the source code.

Read more about point 11

12. Use and contribute to shared digital practices, processes, components, standards, patterns and platforms

Where possible, build on what’s already been done across government. Share your work publicly so others can benefit.

Read more about point 12

13. Operate a reliable service

Minimise service downtime and have a plan to deal with it when it does happen.

Read more about point 13

14. Ensure sponsor acceptance

Make sure the right people know what’s happening with the service, at the right level of detail (including, for example, the minister or chief executive).

Read more about point 14