Launch of devolved employment services.
As many as 4,800 people with health conditions and disabilities will receive help to get into work without the threat of sanctions in the first year of new Scottish employment services.
Employment support is one of the first powers to be devolved through the Scotland Act 2016. From April 3 the transitional services – Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland will deliver this support.
Individuals can volunteer to participate in these services, by contacting their local Jobcentre Plus centres. The 12 month service precede the full devolved service – Fair Start Scotland – which will operate from 2018 for three years.
The newly devolved powers set out that:
- Services will be voluntary, meaning people can participate without risk of Department of Work and Pensions sanction
- £20 million additional funding will be available in 2017 - 18 to ensure continuity of support
- Work First Scotland will help up to 3,300 disabled people find work and stay in work
- Work Able Scotland will help up to 1,500 people with long term health conditions find work and stay in work
From 2018 Fair Start Scotland is expected to help a minimum of 38,000 people who want to find work. Contracts worth £96 million are currently out for tender on provision of this service which will be consistent across Scotland but delivered locally over nine contract areas, with the potential to respond to local needs. There will also be on-going work to align with Jobcentre Plus and health services.
Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said:
“Our distinctly Scottish approach to helping people into work will be more flexible, tailored and easier to access. And our priority in the initial year is to provide continuity of support to people who are unemployed and face significant barriers to work.
“The new devolved services will have fairness, dignity and respect at their core, which will create a strong platform for us to build on for the full roll-out in 2018.
“In Scotland we will look to ease some of the stress of job hunting, by making our services voluntary, which is different to the mandatory arrangements in place for the rest of the UK.
“We believe voluntary participation will let us get the best out of people as without the threat of sanctions they will see the services as an opportunity to gain new skills through supportive training and coaching.
“By aligning our programmes with existing health and social care support we can be more joined up which will ultimately reduce pressure on other public services.
“Over the next 12 months we will listen to people who use the services so we can continue to make improvements to this new person-centred approach.”
Information on the new employment support services.
The performance of the transitional services will be tracked with the first statistics expected to be published in December 2017.
Work First Scotland will be delivered by Momentum Scotland, Remploy and Shaw Trust.
Momentum Scotland Head of Operations Steve Black said:
“Momentum Scotland and our delivery partners are delighted to continue our work of supporting disabled people to enter and sustain employment in Scotland. Contributing to the Scottish Government’s overall agenda in relation to inclusion and fair work is in line with our collection mission and values and from 3 April 2017 we will continue with our work across our Contract Package Area, reaching out to disabled people across a wide geographical area, ensuring that our reach includes people living in both urban and rural Scotland.”
Remploy Scotland Director Matt Lancashire said:
"Today marks a milestone for employment support in Scotland. Both Work Able and Work First provide a real opportunity for Remploy Scotland to deliver on our mission to transform lives through quality and fair sustainable employment. We are excited to be doing this in collaboration with our Transforming Lives Community which is comprised of a range of organisations in Scotland working in partnership to deliver an integrated and community based service to support people with disabilities and health conditions into work."
Shaw Trust Scotland Director of Partnerships Alistair Kerr said:
“Meaningful, long-term employment is vital for disabled people who have the ability and desire to contribute to society and the economy. During this period of change for how disabled people are supported, it’s vital they are part of the discussion to deliver long-lasting transformation. Many disabled people have a real willingness to sustain a job, whether that be paid or voluntary. Having access to substantial employment is important to drive social independence, inclusion and empowerment.”
Work Able Scotland will be managed by Skills Development Scotland with up to 1,500 places for Employment and Support Allowance customers within the Work Related Activity Group, to be delivered by Progress Scotland, Remploy and the Wise Group.
The Lennox Partnership and Working Links will operate as Progress Scotland. Lennox Partnership Chief Executive Blyth Deans said:
“On behalf of Progress Scotland, I can confirm we are delighted to be involved in the delivery of the new devolved employability services, through the Work Able Scotland contract, and look forward to receiving our first referrals in April. We truly believe we have developed our approach in line with the ambitions of the Scottish Government for the new Scottish programmes, providing a high quality service that will undoubtedly benefit the customers we seek to support in achieving their full potential.”
Wise Group Chief Executive Laurie Russell said:
“The Wise Group is delighted to be working with the Scottish Government to help deliver the new Scottish approach to supporting people into work. We have set up a consortium of third sector organisations that have a proven track record of success in matching the skills and talents of people who are not in work with the needs of employers looking to recruit.”