14/02/218 - Town and city managers from across Scotland will converge on Perth next week for ‘A Smarter Scotland’ to hear the findings on Scotland’s Digital Towns Pilot Programme.

The programme – launched last summer by Scotland’s Towns Partnership in partnership with Digital Scotland and the Scottish Government – is looking at options that will help to “realise Scotland’s full potential in a digital world”.

The pilot programme appointed consultants to review and advise on projects that cover towns and cities across the country. Next week’s event will share the results of that review to demonstrate how destinations can become better connected - and how that connectivity can be best sustained to the benefit of very diverse audiences in each location.

Phil Prentice, Chief Officer at Scotland’s Towns Partnership, explains: “People have had a fear of digital redundancy – do we invest now or wait for something better to come along. As a result, there’s been a lot of hit and miss deployment in town and city approaches – not joining up what is being done, especially when it comes to data.

Phil adds: “The Digital Towns Pilot Programme has been all about understanding the challenges faced by destinations across the country. We know digital has a transformational role to play not only in towns and cities but also in communities that are scattered across wider rural areas. This event distills the research undertaken through the pilot programme and looks at how relatively small investment can drive really beneficial economic and social outcomes.

The Smarter Scotland event is to be staged at the newly refurbished Perth Theatre – one of the key projects in the Perth City Plan which is delivered by the City Development Team of which the City Centre manager, Leigh Brown, is a member.

Leigh is speaking at the event not only in her role as City Centre manager but also as chair of the board at the Association of Town & City Management. Leigh says: “Digital is a foundation block that should underpin any destination’s ability to engage with and support residents, visitors and businesses as well as public and third sector partners. This event promises to highlight how communities can look to provide sustainable approaches – and that should be of interest to all those involved in place management across the country.

Also speaking at the event will be Kia Cottrell, Business Development Manager for Europe, the Middle East & Africa at Ruckus Networks, Stuart Black, Director of Development & Innovation at The Highland Council, Richard Watson of Rapier Systems, Simon Baldwin of Destination66 and Bill Harvey, manager at Kirkcaldy4All Business Improvement District.

Elements of the day’s event will be broadcast live on Facebook via the event’s page - https://www.facebook.com/SmarterScotland/

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