Fair Start Scotland evaluation report 2: local area case studies - November 2019

Part of the Fair Start Scotland evaluation series. It presents detailed findings from the first wave of local area case studies in Alloa, Wick and Irvine and includes feedback from FSS service providers, participants, local delivery partners and other local people facing similar barriers to employment.

Introduction and Context

The Scottish Government commissioned Rocket Science UK Ltd, in partnership with Blake Stevenson and the Institute of Employment Studies, to complete a three-year evaluation of Fair Start Scotland (FSS). This evaluation will be centred around nine case studies of localities within each of the nine contract areas. In this first-year report we focus on the first three of these in-depth explorations, covering Alloa (Forth Valley), Irvine (South West) and Wick (Highlands and Islands).

Through these case studies this evaluation seeks to:

  • Understand how FSS is being implemented across the different lot areas in Scotland
  • Understand the experience of FSS for lead providers, partner organisations, participants and employers
  • Identify what is working well and less well in the implementation of FSS
  • Identify the lessons learned and recommend changes to consider for the remainder of the FSS contract period as well as shaping what the next iteration of employment support in Scotland might look like.
  • This report relates to the findings from year one of FSS and investigates the three year 1 localities. The localities for years two and three (in each of the other 6 contract areas) will be decided in autumn 2019. This report is structured as follows:
    • A detailed look at each of the three localities including the social economic context, the management and performance data, the core features of the service in that locality and the lessons can be learned from delivery in that locality
    • Analysis of the views of participants and non-participants interviewed in each of the localities
    • Key findings and conclusions that draw together lessons and implications from each of the case study localities.

FSS builds on the Scottish Government ambition and strategic direction to move Scotland towards a more integrated and aligned employability landscape that is better able to support those with a complex array of needs, infused with principles around fair work, respect and dignity. FSS offers significant scope for learning around:

  • the local flexing of a national service to local needs and conditions;
  • how it can complement and support other local provision;
  • how its governance and performance can be more locally ‘owned’, so driving service quality and outcomes; and
  • how to better integrate employability support with more specialist support which can include health and housing.

The programme of participant and stakeholder research that makes up this evaluation has been designed to make a contribution to the achievement of this vision and in this first year report we have drawn out the lessons that FSS offers to date about how to create a more coherent and comprehensive employability service that responds to the different needs and labour markets across Scotland.

This year 1 evaluation report is underpinned by the following methodology, conducted in each locality between June and August 2019:

Evaluation activity:

  • Desk-based analysis of socio-economic and employment trends in each locality
  • Analysis of the management and performance data of FSS in each locality
  • Interviews with participants in each locality
  • Interviews with job seekers in each locality eligible for FSS but who didn’t participate in the service
  • Interviews with FSS service staff including lead providers, and their partners and supply chain


Email: kirstie.corbett@gov.scot

Back to top