Employment support

£96 million contracts for 2018 services announced.

Contracts worth up to £96 million will be put out to tender to deliver Scotland’s full programme of employment services from 2018. 

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn confirmed that nine contract areas will deliver employment support across Scotland next year, with one of the contracts set to be reserved for a supported business. The contracting process will commence in March.

The 2018 service follows the transitional services Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland, which will start in April 2017, in one of the first exercises of devolved powers under the 2016 Scotland Act.

Mr Hepburn announced the contract package areas during an appearance at the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee.

He said:

“People living in the Highlands have different needs to people living in the Central Belt which is why we are taking a fairer approach to employment support, that will see services more tailored to local needs and issues.

“Through our meetings with people and the organisations that use employment support services we have designed an approach which will make services fairer and simpler for people to access. There is no one-size fits all approach to helping people into work. When our programme is up and running we will be continually looking to make improvements by listening to those who use the services, and learning for 2021 and beyond.

“This is in stark contrast to the UK Government which not only treats Scotland as one geographical area for its Work Programme, but last month confirmed proposed cuts to 23 Jobcentre Plus sites which will remove vital services and could increase barriers to finding employment rather than removing them.

“These contracts put us on track to ensure our programmes are person-centred and focus on skills and support needs rather than the benefits individuals receive.

"We have already secured agreement from the UK Government our Scottish employment programme will not facilitate their benefits sanctions system, as we want our services to be seen as an opportunity, and not a threat."


Scotland is viewed as one area through the UK Government’s current work programmes, and as four areas through Work Choice, its employment service for disabled people.  Across England and Wales, there will be six contract package areas for the Work and Health Programme, the successor to the Work Programme and  Work Choice, which is due to commence later this year.

Contract area

Local authority area




North and South Lanarkshire


Angus, Dundee City and Perth and Kinross


Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire


City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian, Fife


North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway


Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire


Argyll and Bute, Eilean Siar, Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands


East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde

More information about the transitional services available at: http://news.gov.scot/news/employment-support


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