Fostering digital innovation in Scotland: behind the scenes with the award nominated ALISS Programme

Written by: Jane Ankori, Programme Director – A Local Information System for Scotland (ALISS), the ALLIANCE

Published: 02/07/2015

The ALISS programme was recently shortlisted for a Digital Leaders 100 Award. Jane Ankori, ALISS Programme Director, tells us more.

The ALISS Programme and service, which aims to make information about local sources of support for health and wellbeing more findable, has gone from strength to strength over the last few years: making the Digital Leaders 100 List this year in the category ‘Best Health and Social Care Product or Service’.

The Digital Leaders 100 List recognises the highest digital achievements from across the UK’s public, private and non-profit sectors – those who are leveraging digital to transform the UK’s public services and its social and economic opportunities.

At the Digital Leaders 100 Awards on 25 June, (pictured above) Mike Bracken, Executive Director of Digital in the Cabinet Office and head of the Government Digital Service, spoke on the subject of successful digital leadership: offering insights from his own experience.

Reflecting on the journey of the ALISS programme to date, several factors have begun to emerge as key ingredients of its own success. Firstly it hasn’t been achieved in a vacuum – like any significant achievement it has relied upon the strengths and dedication of a number of people working together within the context of a supportive and facilitating environment.

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (led by Mr Ian Welsh OBE, CEO and Chair of the ALISS Programme Board, pictured centre right) has been a natural home for ALISS: as a national third sector strategic intermediary with over 1100 members it has offered the type of flexible, fast paced, and richly networked environment so essential for innovation. Working alongside people with long term conditions and other programmes (pictured bottom right) contributing to the delivery of Scotland’s 2020 Vision for Health and Social care has ensured that ALISS remains true to its original objectives and fit for the purpose that people with long term conditions intended. 

Working closely with people with long term conditions and listening to what matters to them, reminds us as digital leaders that digital innovation is only of relevance in so far as it serves the needs of people. A strong coupling between the voice of the citizen and digital initiatives is key.

ALISS as a digital innovation works only in partnership: partnership with other organisations and professionals striving to improve health and wellbeing in Scotland as well as citizens. As such, core values matter: openness, collaboration, courage, resilience, empathy and an entrepreneurial spirit.

We hear it time and again, but relationships matter. 

As we move towards the integration of health and social care, and attempt to rise to the challenge of creating health within the context of an ageing population and financial constraints, it has never been more important that we make best use of the resources we have.

As a digital innovation making information about resources for health and wellbeing more findable, ALISS is well placed to support the general public and strained public services in helping people to identify and make use of support within their own communities. It will also become an important contributor to the community planning process: serving as not only a map of resources but also a barometer of people’s use of them.

In the words of one of our partners – Perth and Kinross Council,’ awards come and go, but the real winners are the ordinary lives we help’. Staying rooted in the needs of our citizens will be key to successful leadership of digital innovation in Scotland.


Our public services and communities offer rich sources of support for health and wellbeing (services, places, activities, events and opportunities) yet information about them is difficult to find: it is dispersed across multiple directories, websites and social media, or not available online at all.

ALISS functions as an information service and has been designed by and developed with people with long term conditions to make information about local sources of support more findable. It is funded by Scottish Government and delivered by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland.

Contact aliss@alliance-scotland.org.uk or see www.aliss.org for more information.

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