Fair Start Scotland evaluation report 1: implementation and early delivery review

This Fair Start Scotland (FSS) evaluation report covers evaluation findings and data analysis relating to the implementation and early delivery of FSS employment support services in the first 6 months of delivery.

8. Reflections and Next Steps


Scottish Ministers have adopted a test and learn approach to developing and delivering the Scottish Approach to employability. As such, all parties involved recognise that it takes time for processes and relationships to bed in and for trusting relationships to be built between new partners. Evidence suggests that most employability services tend to get stronger as the service becomes more recognised and understood.

One year on from the launch, there is evidence that we are building solid foundations for increasingly effective delivery of employment support. There are some significant challenges ahead in terms of reach and visibility, however we are working together to engage and support the specific groups with multiple barriers who we know to be the most vulnerable.

The success of FSS will be based on working in close partnership and collaboration with Service Providers, JCP/DWP, local authorities and the third sector to deliver services that are fit for purpose at a local level but retain a nationally consistent core service quality.

Service users remain at the front and centre of our approach to the design, delivery and continuous improvement of services and we are responsive to both mid to longer-term evaluation feedback as well as real-time performance information from Service Providers.

This early evidence suggests that the principles of dignity and respect are becoming an integral part of FSS service delivery, that participants recognise the value of this Scottish approach and that they are getting the flexible services they need and want to thrive.

It is clear from this analysis and the FSS statistics publications[21] that some participants have multiple barriers that significantly impact on their ability to move into employment. The evidence base suggests there is no quick fix solution for these participants and Scottish Government and FSS Providers recognise that successfully supporting them will take time.

Next Steps

The Scottish Government will continue to develop and deliver its FSS Continuous Improvement plan based on feedback from evaluation activity and ongoing participant, Service Provider and stakeholder feedback.

Future FSS evaluation activity will reflect the user focus and feed into the design and development of the next iteration of policy and delivery, linking to No One Left Behind as well as other cross-government strategies, such as Tackling Child Poverty and creating A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People[22].

The next FSS evaluation report (in Sept 2019) will reflect progress across the first full year of service delivery (to March 2019) and will include findings from: 

  • further analysis of management information and comparisons against Scottish unemployed people as a whole; 
  • results of a representative telephone survey of participants looking at their experiences of FSS support; 
  • in-depth feedback on the experiences of Service Providers, participants and other local partners in three local case study areas; and 
  • an exploration of reasons for non-participation in FSS services.


Email: Kirstie.Corbett@gov.scot

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