ALISS, connecting you to your community. "Alexa, enable My Scottish Community". Now available on your smart speaker

My Scottish Community

Search ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland) with your voice on your Alexa smart speaker to find out more about community groups and activities in your local area and support available nationally.

What can I find in ALISS?

ALISS is a way of finding support in your local community or where to get advice from national organisations. The My Scottish Community voice application for Amazon Alexa links to the ALISS data and can help you to find information on things like:

Health and Wellbeing

ALISS can help you find support for managing health conditions or to improve your wellbeing (e.g. dementia cafes, badminton clubs, community gardens)

Social Connection

ALISS can help you find groups that support social and community connection (e.g. local choirs, book groups, befriending)


ALISS can signpost to practical, legal, and financial support (e.g. money advice, advocacy services).


ALISS provides information on digital technology and online support (e.g. online forums, health related mobile apps).


To help you get started using ALISS for the first time, here's a short walk-through video showing how to customise your settings and how to perform a search.

How do I use ALISS on my Alexa device?

My Scottish Community is what's known as an Alexa Skill. Basically this is like a smartphone app, the main difference is that the software is cloud based and sits within your online Amazon account rather than physically on your actual smart speaker device, this means you can use it across all your Amazon Alexa devices, if you have more than one. Here are some steps to help you get started using the ALISS - My Scottish Community Alexa skill:

01. Open the app

Say "Alexa, enable My Scottish Community". Note that you must say enable on the first opening.

02. Grant permission

Grant permission to share your postcode to improve the search. This needs to be done in the Alexa app on your smart phone or tablet.

03. Customise

Customise your search settings,  specifically your search area (the radius of the search circle on a map) and whether you’d like to see national results as well.

04. Search for what you would like to find

Perform a search in ALISS for things like support groups or activities within your community, or if you are looking for information on a specific topic.

05. Send an information card

Ask for details of an ALISS listing to be sent to your Alexa smartphone app to save for later.

Add your community service to ALISS

Do you run a group or support service in your local community? Help people discover more about your resources and events by listing your details on ALISS.

Frequently asked questions

White echo dot smart speaker on a bedside table

Getting started with Aliss

How do I access the My Scottish Community skill on Alexa?

You open ALISS on your Alexa smart speaker by saying “Alexa, enable My Scottish Community”. Note that you must say enable on the first opening.

This is known as the invocation name, i.e. what you need to say to open the app on your Alexa device.

If you do not own or have access to an Alexa smart speaker device you can download and use the Amazon Alexa app on your smart phone. The ALISS voice application also works on the Amazon Alexa Fire TVs, sticks and Fire tablets.

Why do I need to give permissions?

When you first use the application you will be asked to give permissions. This is to allow us to use your postcode for the search. We recommend that you check your Alexa device settings to ensure that a full postcode has been input for best results. If there is no postcode set, you will be prompted to do this on your device. You can still use the app without granting permission or without a full postcode, but the results will be less accurate.

How do I grant permissions?

To grant permissions to a skill, you can do so via the Alexa smartphone app.

  1. Open the Alexa app.

  2. Tap the bottom right hand corner where it says More.

  3. Tap where it says Skills & Games.

  4. Tap where it says Your Skills.

  5. Find the skill you want to view/edit permissions on in the list, or search for the skill by name using the magnifying class at the top right of the screen.

  6. Tap on the skill name.

  7. Tap on Settings in the skill information. If there is not a settings button this means there are no permissions to be granted.

  8. Tap on the Manage account permissions blue text.

  9. You can then tick or untick the permissions you wish to edit.

  10. Tap on Save Permissions at the bottom of the screen.

How do I customise the settings to make my Alexa work better for me?

There are a number of ways that you can customise the set-up of your Alexa device to make it easier for you to use, particularly if you have a disability, or impairment that affects your hearing or sight. We recommend reading our Accessibility Guide and trying out these settings to see what works best for you.
One of our favourite settings which improves the user experience for everyone is the “Tap to Alexa” feature which allows you to set up your own custom shortcuts on the Alexa devices with a screen.

Black Echo Show 10 smart speaker on a worktop in an open plan room with a living room space in the background

Performing a search 

How do I change my postcode?

Your devices should be set up with the same postcode used for your main Amazon account. If you wish to check this or change it to something different you can do so via the Alexa smartphone app.

  1. Open the Alexa app.

  2. Tap the bottom right hand corner where it says More.

  3. Tap where it says Settings, just underneath where it says See More.

  4. Tap where it says Device Settings.

  5. Tap on the name of the device that you wish to check or update.

  6. Tap on the settings cog icon in the top right hand corner of the screen.

  7. Scroll down to where it says Device Location and tap on this wording.

  8. Review the address details, then tap on the address details that you would like to edit. When you tap on the wording the text will become editable. When you are done, tap where it says Save in the top right hand corner.

  9. Note, you may be asked to verify your address after tapping save. This is if your address is similar to a standard address in the Royal Mail database. You will see a tick against “Suggested Address”. Tap on your “Original Address” that you just checked/edited to move the tick. Then tap where it says Select.

How do I customise my search settings?

You can set your preferences for the distance you wish to travel in miles and whether you would like to see local or national results, or both local and national.

Open the app and choose the settings option or say “Alexa, ask My Scottish Community for settings”. You will then be prompted to change your search “radius” and your search “type” from the default settings of 5 miles and everything. The radius setting is essentially your search area, similar to apps where you drop a pin on a map and then expand the circle around the pin. The search type is whether you would like to search only for local listings (according to your search radius), national or everything (i.e. both local and national).

When you revisit the search settings, Alexa will tell you what you have set and you can use the commands, “radius” and “type” to change these.

How do I search through the listings on ALISS?

To perform a search, you can open the app by saying “Alexa, enable My Scottish Community” and choose the search option when prompted or say “Alexa, ask My Scottish Community for [insert what you’d like to search for]”, i.e. “Alexa, ask My Scottish Community for walking”.

For the time being we recommend searching for single words as multiword searches tend to be less accurate. This is something we are working on improving.

Alexa will read out the search results and display a summary on devices with a screen. Results are returned in batches with the first three being returned so as not to overwhelm you with too much information.

To choose a search result to hear more about, say the number of the search result. i.e. say three if it is the third result read out or on the list.

If there is nothing of interest to you in the first three search results, ask Alexa to give you the “next results” in the list.

How do I access the details of a search listing on my smartphone?

When you have found a listing that you are interested in you will be asked if you would like a details card sent to your phone, say “Yes” and the details card will be sent to your Alexa smartphone app. To access the details card:

  1. Open the Alexa app.

  2. Tap the bottom right hand corner where it says More.

  3. Tap where it says Activity.

  4. The details card should show up for your chosen result from ALISS.

Data Privacy

Is Alexa always listening?

One of the top questions that we are asked when we talk to people about Alexa is about whether the device is listening into conversations. It is natural to feel apprehensive about technology.

Alexa is designed to activate the microphone if it hears the wake word. The default wake word is Alexa, but can be changed to Amazon, Echo, Computer or Ziggy. It is not listening and transcribing until after it hears the wake word.

Sometimes the microphone can be triggered by accident. If you notice this, just say “Alexa, cancel” and it will disregard anything it heard. You can go into your recordings and transcripts of recordings to check what data is being recorded. We recommend doing this, as in this part of the settings on the smartphone app you can also review your preferences for how Amazon use your data. We have a free guide on our website of how to do this which you can access here.

How do I check the transcriptions of what Alexa has heard?

If you are having difficulty using the skill we may ask you to help investigate what Alexa thinks it is hearing when you are using ALISS. This will help us to improve the user experience for commonly misheard words. For example Alexa often hears “chicken” instead of “check-in”, but we can correct for this in the application if we know what words are being misheard.

1. Open the Alexa app.
2. Tap the bottom right hand corner where it says More.
3. Tap where it says Settings, just underneath where it says See More.
4. Tap where it says Alexa Privacy.
5. Tap where it says Review Voice History.
6. You will then see all the times you have spoken to your Alexa. You can browse this to look at previous days and specific devices if you have more than one Alexa.
7. The transcription entries are displayed in a list underneath the date and device filters. You can open an entry by tapping on the icon on the right hand side that looks like a down arrow. This will expand the box so you can see the transcription of what was said.
8. You can note this down separately or take a screenshot to pass on the information.

How do I know my personal information is safe?

The only information that will be collected during your interactions with the ALISS skill on your Alexa device is your postcode. This data is shared with us by Amazon, but only with your permission. We cannot see any personally identifiable information like your name or other contact details. However, we recognise that information such as a postcode could become personally identifiable depending on where you live if there is only one property in that location. We operate with strict controls including multifactor authentication for access to the Alexa developer console and cloud database storage. Database information is not shared with any third-parties.

You can find out more about our data privacy policies here. For us it's not about compliance but about treating your data with respect and ensuring that your needs always stay at the centre of how any data is stored, used and shared. You can find out more about our digital ethics policy here.

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we love your feedback

How do I provide feedback on my experience of using ALISS on Alexa?

We are keen to make ALISS as widely accessible as possible and also ensure that it provides useful support information. We are still at a very early stage of development with the technology and your feedback will help to shape how the service evolves. We would be grateful if you could complete this short survey to let us know more about your experiences. https://forms.gle/pucBawn8428huBfC8

You can help us to reach even more people by leaving us a review on the Amazon website here.

You can also use the message box below or the contact details at the very bottom of the page. We also welcome any questions that you have or if you are requiring additional support please let us know.

Where can I find out more about Alexa?

Browse our full Alexa help guide library here:


We can also provide courses and bespoke learning for people wanting to get the best out of their technology.

Access your free ALISS Alexa resource pack!

Help people in your network to learn about how to use ALISS on Alexa

What's next for ALISS on Alexa?

We are still very much at the beginning of the journey with the ALISS app for Alexa. We are keen to continue engagement and action the insights and ideas that have been gathered thus far in the co-design activities. The following section provides visibility of the main development themes and actions. If you have tried the ALISS My Scottish Community app and would like to share your feedback you can message us using the box at the bottom of this page.

  • Clearer data

  • better search

  • voice user experience

  • enhanced functionality

A key aspect of the design is to ensure that the information ALISS provides is clear and easy to understand. It also needs to be trusted and for people to have enough information to know whether a service is the right one for them.

Clearer data, will ensure that people are not overwhelmed with too much information and that they can easily decide whether a service suits their needs.

Data quality

How does a user know the data is up to date and reliable? Add a last updated date to the search result entries, show on the screen and also read out in the audio.

Service information

Provide more detail about services, such as access to service (open hours, walkable v. drivable, accessible entrances etc.). This would require further information to be added to the database and probably also updates to the categorisation of entries.

Service names and descriptions

This needs to be specially written with the audio experience in mind so that it is not too long and captures the most important information to make it easy for people to know what the ALISS entry is about.

Correcting the way Alexa speaks

Can the wording in the ALISS entries be corrected to ensure they sound correct when Alexa reads them? For example, pronunciation and speed of speech can be a problem. Email addresses are often not read out correctly.

Get in touch with us

Have a question or feedback about ALISS or Alexa, get in touch, we'd be happy to help. Or if you'd like to share your stories of how you've benefited from using ALISS we'd love to hear from you.

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