Reference architecture

At the heart of the ICT and Digital Strategy is a business reference architecture that lays out the fundamental design of the Council’s ICT and Digital services going forward. The business reference architecture has three simple layers, each designed to play their own unique role in supporting the Council’s key customers. The three layers are Core Components, Business Solutions and Engagement Layer.

Layer solution core

Each of the three layers are vitally important to the Council achieving an accessible, scalable, flexible and functional architecture at a minimised cost of ownership. The Council has therefore applied the following principles when implementing its Business Reference Architecture.

Improve the customer experience

Use the organisations collective knowledge of individual stakeholders to ensure that all engagements are as personalised and customer centric as possible.

Fit for Purpose Core Components

Invest in delivering fit-for-purpose core components, and then ensure 100% use wherever the function they perform is required. For example, the Council will have one solution to authenticating a citizen and will always use this where a citizen is required to prove their identity to complete a transaction with the Council.

Proactively share core components and business solutions

Proactively seek to share its core components and business solution with other local authorities or wider parts of the public sector. Ideally, the City of Edinburgh Council would not own or manage any of these, instead it would consume the services from across public sector shared services or directly from a commercial source. The Council acknowledges that to achieve this it may be necessary to adjust its business processes to comply with the standard processes provided.

Minimise the number of business solutions

Strive to minimise the number of business solutions used with the aim of delivering best-in-class, joined up, efficient processes, whilst minimising the requirement to interface between business solutions.


Where interfacing/integration is required between any elements of the architecture the Council will require the solution provider to support an SOA/API approach therefore minimising the Council’s total cost of ownership.

Business Solution will have vendor supported APIs

Ensure that, where required, the business solutions or core components will make there processes available to the engagement layer via fully supported, presentation layer independent, APIs.

Invest in Engagement Layer

Invest to make the engagement layer robust, responsive, scalable, flexible and channel independent. This will allow the Council to react quickly to the changing behaviours and needs of our citizens, local businesses and other key stakeholders. The objective will be to attract people to use on-line channels wherever possible, striving for ‘digital by desire’.

Consistent user experience through engagement layer

Use the engagement layer to ensure that our stakeholders receive a consistent and high quality service regardless of their channel of choice, including face-to-face, phone, email, and on-line.

Make our services available on other channels

Make its high volume services available to authorised non-Council channels (e.g. YoungScot) and work with these channels to ensure that these services are available where our citizens and local businesses find most useful. This ‘white labelling’ approach will maximise the adoption of our on-line services by target stakeholders.