Fair Work Action Plan 2022 and Anti-Racist Employment Strategy 2022: Fairer Scotland duty assessment

Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment (FSDA) of the Fair Work Action Plan 2022 and Anti-Racist Employment Strategy 2022.

5. Assessment of Refreshed Fair Work Action Plan

Headline action 1: We will lead by example on the Fair Work Agenda, including sharing and learning of practice, by 2025. We will continue to embed Fair Work in all public sector organisations, setting out clear priorities in the roles and responsibilities of public bodies.

Action 1.1: Scottish Government will undertake an equal pay audit examining pay gaps by gender, disability, race, and age by March 2024. We will act on findings to review and refresh our recruitment and retention policies to address workplace inequalities by end of 2025.

The impact of this action depends on the number of people having one or more of the protected characteristics above, being from a low socio-economic background, and earning a low income while working for the Scottish Government.

Although this action does not specifically target socio-economic disadvantage and there is limited existing data on Scottish Government employees' socio-economic background[46], there are various examples demonstrating overrepresentation of certain protected characteristic groups in lower socio-economic groupings. For example, research highlights that average incomes for racialised minorities below the poverty line have fallen faster and deeper (by six percentage points) than they have for white people (one percentage point) over the last decade. This difference becomes more exacerbated when considering racialised minority women, and age (racialised minority children are more likely to be in income and material poverty).[47] Similar pay gaps and consequent deprivation exist for women (in particular mothers with young children) and disabled people; the nature of this intersectionality has been coined 'double disadvantage' – i.e., low socio-economic background and one (or more) protected characteristic.[48]

Therefore, undertaking a pay gap audit through the lens of gender, disability, race, and age, and implementing beneficial changes to recruitment and retention policies, may help to reduce low incomes, low wealth, and deprivation for these groups.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 1.2: Work with equality organisations and public sector employers to co-deliver a series of engagements with the public sector by the end of 2023 to support employers to address the recommendations of the Scottish Parliament's Equalities and Human Rights Committee's inquiry report into race equality, employment and skills which recommended employers assess their organisations' understanding of racism and structural barriers; and those subject to the Public Sector Equality Duty as a minimum, voluntarily record and publish their ethnicity pay gap and produce an action plan to deliver identified outcomes.

Engagement with public sector employers and supporting them to voluntarily record and publish their ethnicity pay gap could reduce socio-economic disadvantage. There is intersectionality of race and socio-economic disadvantage in Scottish society[49]. However, the number or proportion of employees working in the public sector and who belong to both categories is difficult to calculate at this stage.

Nevertheless, the targeted approach to this action and engagement with the public sector has the possibility to present opportunities for socio-economically disadvantaged workers to have their voice heard. Scotland's Civil Service People Survey revealed that only 81% of staff from a low socio-economic background felt included and treated fairly, compared to 86% from a high socio-economic background. Actions that promote engagement and seek to understand and implement change through employee voice channels may benefit socio-economic disadvantaged people through improving the working conditions of those in lower grades and salaries within the organisation.

Moreover, during stakeholder engagement, stakeholders expressed concerns regarding the anonymity of pay gap data, when sharing intersectional analysis. Where numbers of racialised minorities are low, intersectional data in relation to pay gaps or occupational segregation can create data privacy concerns as individuals can become easily identifiable.

Ensuring data privacy and confidentiality are priority objectives of the collecting and reporting of ethnicity pay gap data, which will develop a sense of trust in the public sector in its use of data.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 1.3: The EHRC and Scottish Funding Council (SFC) will:

Action 1.3.1: Implement National Equality Outcomes across protected characteristics (including disability, ethnicity, sex) from Sept 2022 to Sept 2025, in order to:

  • improve student success and retention rates;
  • ensure access to and confidence in support for students and staff that fosters good relations and tackle prejudice and discrimination; and
  • increase diversity of staff in the workforce and on College Boards and University Courts.

There is significant evidence that exposes the relationship between a low socio-economic background and poor educational success and retention. Furthermore, there is also evidence highlighting the correlation between socio-economic disadvantage, and one or more of the characteristics of disability, ethnicity, and gender, and how these intersections can also be pre-cursors to poor educational attainment[50][51].

Parental income is important for educational outcomes, lack of money can limit availability of resources for learning, and is associated with overcrowded housing, inadequate heating, and food insecurity – all of which are linked to poorer educational outcomes[52]. Therefore, in cases where socio-economic disadvantage caused by parental low income is a driving factor behind poor student success, then ensuring access to and confidence in support for such students is a meaningful measure that socio-economic disadvantaged children may serve to benefit from.

Actions that target children and young people, particularly those in education, can be effective in reducing socio-economic disadvantage. As socio-economic disadvantage is frequently something that affects multiple generations of families, or communities of interest, actions to better the circumstances and attainment of the young people represent a meaningful step to reduce inequalities of outcome in the long term.

Therefore, specified implementation of National Equality Outcomes that target these groups has the potential to indirectly reduce inequalities of outcome for people in those groups facing socio-economic disadvantage. However, while there are indirect positive impacts, the action does not provide a clear and direct impact on those from lower socioeconomic positions.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 1.3.2: Develop a set of SFC annual thematic reviews to inform and direct improvement.

Publishing annual thematic reviews has the potential for knowledge dissemination on existing inequalities faced by socio-economic disadvantaged groups, including where there is intersectionality of socio-economic background, protected characteristics (disability, ethnicity) and poor educational attainment and retention. If the information gathered results in targeted support, voice channels and learning provision then these reviews could result in long term strategic step-changes for the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the wider Scottish further and higher education sectors, with consequent benefits for socio-economic disadvantaged people.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 1.4: Work with partners to establish senior leadership networks to build capability and understanding of racism and racial inequality in the workplace by the end of 2023.

Senior leadership networks with capability and understanding of racism and racial inequality in the workplace is a useful action to reduce inequality of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage. Racialised minorities are more likely to be facing socio-economic disadvantage in the UK than White people, with low income or income deprivation being a driving factor behind this. In turn, the proportion of children from racialised minorities in the UK living in a household with an equivalised income below 50% of median incomes and experiencing material deprivation has increased since 2019, currently sitting at 9%. Conversely, this has dropped amongst white children from 4% to 3% in the same period.

Establishing senior leadership networks (and the decision-making authority they possess), with an understanding of racism and racial inequality opens opportunity for ethnicity pay gaps and consequent socio-economic disadvantage to be targeted.

The timeframe for this action provides a challenge for it to be achieved. Establishing senior leadership networks that are knowledgeable and trusted by employees will take time, and the end of 2023 does not present a significant window to achieve this.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 1.5: We will work with Scottish Government analysts to run a series of official statistics dissemination sessions with interested stakeholders to help inform their understanding of the labour market landscape in relation to fair work. Where available data allows, this will include considering intersectionality.

This action has the potential to significantly benefit employers' understanding of socio-economic disadvantage. There is a lack of robust data on ethnicity and poverty which makes it difficult to understand the interaction and scale of the drivers of poverty for racialised minorities[53]. A statistics dissemination session on this intersectionality may therefore go some way to remedying this current lack of data.

Nevertheless, the likely tangible impact of this action depends on those stakeholders who share interest in taking part in the statistics dissemination sessions. If stakeholders who represent or share the interests of socio-economic disadvantaged people and communities are involved in developing these, then it will be beneficial.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Headline action 2: We will continue to use conditionality to further embed Fair Work in all public sector investment wherever possible.

Action 2.1: As part of the Bute House agreement and NSET, and within the limits on devolved competence, we will:

Action 2.1.1: Extend Fair Work conditionality with clear standards and minimum requirements to cover all forms of Scottish Government support within the limits of devolved competence. We will use all levers at our disposal to deliver on this commitment – including the use of grants, reliefs and licencing provisions.

Public sector grant conditionality includes paying at least the real Living Wage and providing channels for effective voice for all employees, as announced on 6th December 2022.[53]

The extension of Fair Work conditionality should mean the real Living Wage will reach more people, and consequently benefit socio-economically disadvantaged groups, particularly those on low incomes or experiencing material deprivation. The continued increase in the number of accredited real Living Wage employers (5 in 2014, 1689 in 2020, 2890 in 2022) in Scotland can be partly accredited to the current conditionality in the Fair Work First guidance that encourages and supports employers to adopt fair work practices in their organisation. This new action will help continue the increasing number of employers paying the real Living Wage, therefore increasing the number of opportunities available to people from socio-economic disadvantaged groups to earn the real Living Wage.

Specific groups who are more likely to be experiencing socio-economic disadvantage such as women, young people, lone parents, households with disabled people, racialised minorities and households with children are likely to benefit the most from this action. This was evidenced during stakeholder engagement with young women's representative groups who outlined that many women in the early stages of their career expressed the benefit of being paid the real Living Wage in terms of equity and progression.

Engagement with island community stakeholders reaffirmed this notion, particularly regarding the positive impact the real Living Wage can have on reducing child poverty. Income from employment (i.e., its volatile nature, limited access to training and progression) is one of the three drivers of child poverty in Scotland's rural and island communities alongside costs of living and income from social security. The real Living Wage may have a multi-faceted impact on socio-economic disadvantage in island communities. For example, by helping to lessen the significance of income from employment as a driver behind child poverty, but also by reducing the disparity between men's and women's earnings which tend to be greater than the national average.[55]

However, some stakeholders highlighted their concerns on the viability of smaller organisations and those in the third sector, being able to pay the real Living Wage. If payment of the real Living Wage is enforced universally, then some employers will not be able to sustain their current workforce sizes, which in turn could lead to increased socio-economic disadvantage for those who are made redundant. This could also result in the loss of important services for local communities including those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.

Providing channels for effective workers voice should promote workplace equality, fairness and help to reduce discrimination. This extension of conditionality has the potential to significantly benefit socio-economic disadvantaged workers; a recent study in the UK revealed that only 2 in 5 employees from a lower socio-economic background feel included in the workplace, and only half feel safe to be open about their background[56]. Although trade unions may not be a plausible for some small organisation, alternative voice channels for employees, groups or employee associations offer viable means through which to achieve this conditionality. Stakeholder engagement reflected this notion; for example, small, island based agricultural organisations that provide seasonal work to migrants did not necessarily have recognised trade unions but highlighted that workers' voice groups are already in place and are supported and valued by the employers and customers alike. Given the high value of these seasonal workers, such organisations are very cautious to not lose them by not listening or offering an adequate place to live and work. Moreover, the extent to which effective voice can be applied as a conditionality is limited to the size of the organisation in question. Independent farmers for example are less likely to adopt the real Living Wage or provide effective voice channels for their workers given the small scale of their operations.

Specification on how Fair Work conditionality will be extended would provide useful grounds on which to make a more accurate judgement as to how this action will impact socio-economic disadvantaged groups.

However, more people earning higher wages will increase disposable income, move people and their children away from the risks of low income and help to reduce the inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage. Additionally, greater channels for effective employee voice will allow for the needs, wants, and issues facing socio-economic disadvantaged workers to be heard more frequently and in a cohesive manner. The potential effect of this is that it will promote confidence in the workplace and create working environments that facilitate progression and attainment.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is major positive.

Action 2.1.2: Consider how we can extend conditionality to the other Fair Work principles, including opportunity, security, respect and fulfilment by 2025.

Extending conditionality to the other Fair Work principles has the possibility to create benefits for socio-economic disadvantaged groups.

Extending conditionality to the principle of opportunity may enable better access to the labour market for individuals facing socio-economic disadvantage, as well as greater opportunities for progression once in the labour market. Low-paid work is a key driver behind in-work poverty, hence increasing opportunities for progression would help improve this situation for disadvantaged people.

Extending conditionality to the principle of security may also help reduce in-work poverty. Precarious employment and zero-hour contracts are types of employment with poor job security. Socio-economically disadvantaged people are overrepresented in these roles and therefore disproportionately suffer from the knock-on effects, such as reduced income and poor physical health[57]. Furthermore, there is significant intersectionality between gender, poor job security, and socio-economic disadvantage. Women in Scotland were identified as being 5% more likely to hold a zero-hours contract in certain sectors[58], are on the wrong side of a 12.2% gender pay gap and are 39% more likely to be living in poverty if they are a single parent[59]. Extending conditionality to the principle of security, considering the negative experiences of groups and how they intersect with socio-economic disadvantage, will have a positive impact.

Extending conditionality to the principle of respect may benefit socio-economic disadvantaged workers. In 2021, 10.3% of Scottish Government staff whose parents had never worked reported experiencing bullying and/or harassment, compared to 6.8% of staff from a high socio-economic background[60]. The principle of respect, and how it is reported, will also inherently require effective workers voice channels, and therefore enforcing this principle with conditionality could have knock-on positive effects.

Extending conditionality to the principle of fulfilment could promote positive workplace experiences for socio-economic disadvantaged workers. Similarly, to the principle of respect, monitoring on how conditionality relating to fulfilment has benefitted socio-economic disadvantaged workers would require effective workers voice channels.

Further details on how conditionality would be implemented in relation to these four principles is required to make an accurate assessment of the impact on socio-economic disadvantage at this stage.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is neutral.

Action 2.2: By 2023 update the Fair Work First criteria to better reflect priority action required to address labour market inequalities faced by women, people from racialised minorities, and disabled people, ensuring people can enter, remain and progress in work.

Updating Fair Work First criteria to better reflect priority action required to reduce labour market inequalities may have positive effects because women, people from racialised minorities and disabled people are overrepresented in various dimensions of socio-economic disadvantage in Scotland.

Furthermore, there is a correlation between low socio-economic status, poor educational attainment, and poor workplace progression; research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found that 53% of those in management roles are from a high socio-economic background, compared to 38% being from a low socio-economic background, a third (33%) of CMI members who responded believed socio-economic background is a barrier to progression to moving up to executive level[61].

The short timeframe for this action and method of identifying priority action required to address labour market inequalities brings in an aspect of doubt as to how significantly this will benefit socio-economic disadvantaged groups.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is neutral.

Headline action 3: We will support employers to utilise the resources and support available to embed Fair Work in their organisations. We will work collaboratively to develop these resources to support and build capability among employers, employability providers and partners.

Action 3.1: By the end of 2023 we will work with partners to join up provision of advice and support for employers by establishing a central Fair Work resource, making it as simple and efficient as possible for employers to use. This would enhance and consolidate existing material to ensure employers have a clear route to access guidance, support, and advice on Fair Work. It will involve:

  • Advice and tools to promote the benefits of Fair Work and workplace equality
  • Good practice case studies
  • Advice on networking and establishing peer support groups
  • Collaboration with existing trusted business support services and partners

A central Fair Work resource may benefit socio-economic disadvantaged workers by reducing inequalities of outcome as their employers are provided with an accessible tool through which guidance, support and advice on Fair Work can be utilised.

Employers with a greater understanding of how their practices impact their workers, and how to mitigate negative effects, showcases a method by which employee needs can be met. Since 2019, the Scottish Government has been working with small and micro employers seeking to adopt Fair Work practices through the provision of access to online advice. Further to this the Fair Work Employer Support Tool launched in 2021 enables SMEs to self-assess their fair work practices and access support to strengthen their approaches. These measures have enabled employers to increase their understanding of the needs of their workers, and have supported them in adopting flexible working practices, and the benefit this can have on socio-economic disadvantaged groups.

The provision of good practice and real-life case studies plays an important role in the success of this Fair Work resource and the potential positive impact it can have on socio-economic disadvantaged groups. Stakeholder engagement revealed that case studies can demonstrate practical positive actions for organisation, particularly if it is their first time adopting Fair Work measures.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 3.2: Develop a communications strategy to highlight and promote the benefits of Fair work and a diverse workplace to employers including;

  • adoption of payment of at least the real Living Wage;
  • effective voice channels, tackling the gender pay gap; and
  • recruiting, employing and supporting disabled people and workers from racialised minorities.

The strategy will be informed by sectoral and regional analysis and utilise a range of channels.

The success of this action is dependent on how well the communications strategy is researched and implemented, the scope of employers it reaches, and how well they can (or how much they are inspired to) act and look to implement the outlined benefits of Fair Work and a diverse workplace.

If researched and successfully implemented the communications strategy has the potential to create significant beneficial impacts for certain groups of people. As aforementioned, there is intersectionality of socio-economic disadvantage and several protected characteristics. Because of this, data collection and analysis of sectors where there is underrepresentation of certain groups (socio-economic disadvantaged Bangladeshi women for example) would maximise the positive impact created by recruiting, employing, and supporting workers from racialised minorities, particularly regarding reducing workplace inequalities.

Moreover, using the right language in the communications strategy is also crucial to its success; talking to a private sector organisation will likely require different terminology, compared to a third sector or island community organisation.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 3.3: Increase the number of people who have security of pay and contract by encouraging employers to seek real Living Wage and Living Hours accreditation. We will achieve this through our continuing support of Living Wage Scotland to achieve an additional 5,000 workers uplifted annually to the real Living wage through increases in employer accreditation.

There are employers in Scotland who have the scope to adopt the real Living Wage and real Living Hours, and there are socio-economic disadvantaged employees who would be benefit from these conditions of employment. The successful implementation of this action will be positive, as it seeks to increase the number of people who have security of pay and contract, two issues that disproportionately effect socio-economic disadvantaged groups.

The voluntary nature of paying the real Living Wage by employers means that this target cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, the target of 5,000 workers is a small proportion of Scotland's labour market and could theoretically be taken on by a single employer.

However, the impact of this action is still a significant positive in relation to socio-economic disadvantage.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is major positive.

Action 3.4: By the end of 2025 we will review and disseminate learning and best practice from on the conclusion of the 2024 Workplace Equality Fund.

Dissemination of learning and best practice from the 2024 Workplace Equality Fund has the potential to benefit socio-economic disadvantaged groups by supporting employers to diminish longstanding barriers that face certain groups in entering and progressing in the labour market.

Ultimately, learning and best practice taken from the Fund will have maximum positive impact on socio-economic disadvantaged people if the projects on which the Fund is applied focusses on socio-economic issues, needs and opportunities.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 3.5: We will develop and promote guidance to encourage more employers across all sectors to use positive action measures as per the Equality Act 2010 giving particular attention to sex, pregnancy, race, age and disability by end 2024.

The positive impact of this action depends on the demographics of employers' workforces, and the intersectionality of the above protected characteristics and socio-economic disadvantage. Nonetheless, intersectionality of these groups has been evidenced and therefore it can be reasonably assumed that inequality of outcome should be reduced by employers implementing positive action measures that target employees based on sex, pregnancy, race, age and disability.

The nature of the positive action measures will have significant influence on the positive impact this action has on reducing inequalities of outcome for socio-economic disadvantaged groups, as will the effort put into promoting the guidance.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 3.6: We will continue to promote existing and new advice and guidance on the benefits of flexible working to organisations across Scotland by working with public bodies to assess provision and highlight best practice throughout this parliamentary term (by 2026).

Post-Covid working patterns have radically changed the landscape of employment for many people, opening previously unforeseen opportunities made accessible through remote, hybrid and online workspaces. For some groups who are overrepresented across socio-economic disadvantage dimensions (young parents, single mothers with babies, disabled racialised minorities) flexible working has provided employment opportunities where previously not possible. Continuing to promote existing and new advice and guidance on the benefits of flexible working can further increase opportunities for socio-economically disadvantaged groups.

It is important to discern between flexible working and zero-hour contracts or precarious work. As explored in previous sections, precarious work often comes with several disadvantages for socio-economic disadvantaged people, namely lack of job security, irregular income, and stress that comes as result. For action 3.6 to be significantly beneficial, guidance on flexible working should be provided alongside the benefits and necessity for real Living Hours to be met.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is major positive.

Action 3.7: Working with employers, equality stakeholders and training providers, develop and implement an intersectional and anti-racist training framework by 2025.

As discussed previously, there is intersectionality between ethnicity and socio-economic disadvantage. Development of an intersectional and anti-racist training framework by 2025 may therefore mitigate workplace racism faced by racialised minorities, potentially resulting in career progression and consequently reducing inequalities of outcomes caused by socio-economic disadvantage.

Evidence from similar actions taken by employers points to the positive impacts such training measures can have for both employees and employers.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is major positive.

Action 3.8: We will work with employers and trade unions, in sectors where low pay and precarious work can be most prevalent, to develop sectoral Fair Work agreements that deliver improved employment outcomes such as payment of the real Living Wage, better security of work, and wider "Fair Work First" standards.

Sectoral Fair Work agreements could constitute a considerable benefit to socio-economic disadvantaged people, who are overrepresented in low pay and precarious work roles. Low pay, poor job security and lack of progression are driving factors behind low status socio-economic dimensions such as low income, material deprivation and area deprivation. There is also well documented intersectionality of socio-economic disadvantage, certain racialised minority groups, and unequal labour market experiences.

Continued work in key target sectors will help to remedy these unequal outcomes faced by socio-economic disadvantaged people.

While working with trade unions positively represents employee voice, other effective voice channels could be engaged with such as employee forums. Stakeholders supported the power and influence these forums can have on workplace activities and the value of lived experience which they provide. Therefore, the sectoral Fair Work agreements could benefit further from wider engagement with employee stakeholders.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is major positive.

Action 3.9: We will work with employers, workers, and trade unions to strengthen effective voice, through a range of appropriate channels. We will do this by supporting strong trade unions and, in line with our NPF employee voice indicator, will promote the benefits of collective bargaining (including sectoral agreements) and other forms of effective voice at individual and collective levels.

Strengthening effective voice by working with employers, workers and trade unions could produce highly positive impacts for socio-economic disadvantaged people. Specific interaction with workers who are from socio-economically disadvantaged group will allow for their views on and experience of poverty to be used towards informing new workplace programmes, proposals and/or decisions. This supports the principle of 'nothing about us without us'[62] – and that involvement will likely improve their situation. Understanding the lived experience of those living in poverty can further strengthen effective voice channels, such as trade unions, and could result in meaningful workplace changes.

Ensuring that the effective voice channel is fitting to the context of the organisation or sector in which it is established (i.e., a trade union is most likely excess to requirement for effective workers voice on a local farm) will be important to the positive impact of this action.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Headline action 4: We will work collaboratively to develop resources to support workers to access, remain and progress in fair work.

Action 4.1: Work with enterprise agencies and Business Gateway to promote Fair Work and deliver wider conditionality, and:

Action 4.1.1: By end of 2023 undertake a review of the Business Gateway website, utilising analytical and tracking techniques to ensure that disabled people find the website accessible, and are able to utilise the advice given to overcome the barriers they face.

Evidence highlighted in the previous sections identified the high rates of incidence between households being socio-economic disadvantaged and having one or more disabled residents. Consequently, it is inevitable that improvements to website accessibility for disabled people will benefit some who also face socio-economic disadvantage.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 4.2: Scottish Government Employability Delivery: we will continue to work with Fair Start Scotland providers, within the timescales of the current contract until March 2023, to implement a continuous improvement approach to enhance delivery and outcomes for disabled people and those furthest from the labour market, including people from racialised minorities and women. This will include drawing upon learning from Pathfinders/ test and learn projects being delivered by Disabled People's Organisations and the pilot project on community engagement being delivered by CEMVO Enterprises CIC in 2022/23.

A continuous improvement approach to Scottish Government Employability Delivery could reduce inequalities of outcome in the labour market for socio-economic disadvantaged people, where they are also disabled, from a racialised minority, or women.

Many socio-economic disadvantaged people who share these characteristics find barriers to job opportunities due to lack of training and industry awareness. The Scottish Government's employment services provide practical support and advice through Fair Start Scotland, something that is particularly useful for socio-economic disadvantaged people who may not have access to support networks within their family or social group. These groups are likely to benefit most from collaborative actions such as this.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 4.3: Scottish Government to work with stakeholders to develop a Delivery Plan 2023-26, outlining the next phase development of No One Left Behind (NOLB) from April 2024. This will:

Action 4.3.1: Build Fair Work outcomes into the design of No One Left Behind by taking account of the lived experience and needs of disabled people, people from racialised minorities, women and the over 50s.

Considering the lived experiences of people when designing the No One Left Behind plan will ensure positive steps are being taken by the Scottish Government in its collaborative approach to redesigning the employability system whilst delivering on existing and emerging priorities. The nature of people's socio-economic disadvantage can vary significantly. Therefore, a collaborative approach to supporting workers to understanding their lived experiences will ensure specific needs can be understood and accounted for in the plan.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 4.3.2: Draw upon the findings and recommendations of the following:

  • Health and Work Strategy Review (2019)
  • Supported Employment Review (2022)
  • Health and Work Support Pilot final evaluation (2022)
  • Individual Placement and Support Review (2022 – forthcoming)

The impact of the findings and recommendations of these publications is dependent on the intersectionality of socio-economic disadvantage and disability.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is neutral.

Action 4.4: Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Scottish Funding Council (SFC) will, on an annual basis, review disaggregated management information including the newly disaggregated Learning Disability statistics and take action where required where poorer outcomes or underrepresented groups are identified. This will include:

Action 4.4.1: Review the equality incentives for disabled people in relation to Work Based Learning (WBL) and make recommendations by end March 2024 with regard to impact on participation and achievement rates for disabled people.

Action 4.4 and 4.4.1 have the potential to significantly benefit socio-economic disadvantaged people. Disabled people from a low socio-economic background who are typically underrepresented in the labour market, and in management and high-level executive positions due to poorer educational attainment, and/or professional training and development.

The use of detailed, disaggregated statistics is highly beneficial as they allow detailed analysis of issues, particularly when they are intersectional as outlined under actions 4.4 and 4.4.1.

Review of Work Base Learning (WBL) and increasing participation in apprenticeships run by Skills Development Scotland is also a means by which poverty amongst young adults can be reduced, through access to a reliable career ladder and high-income job market.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 4.4.2: Review learning from pilot projects for Foundation Apprenticeships for disabled pupils and mainstream lessons learned by October 2023.

The impact of this action will be meaningful towards reducing inequalities of outcome if lessons learnt and implemented are done so for disabled pupils from socio-economic disadvantaged backgrounds.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is neutral.

Action 4.4.3: Use intelligence from training and learning providers and participants to develop and deliver disability equality-focused continuous professional development to build the capacity of learning providers to support disabled individuals and ensure a continuous development cycle is implemented by 2023.

The impact of this action will be positive for individuals from a low socio-economic disadvantaged background if they are also disabled and utilise the services offered by learning providers. Continuing professional development and the effect this can have on career progression is an area of employment that socio-economic disadvantaged people can benefit from.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 4.5: Skills Development Scotland (SDS) will:

Action 4.5.1: Implement Scotland's Career Review recommendations and develop a model to ensure future career services across sectors provide meaningful and accessible support for disabled people that is both tailored to their needs and available when they need it. The implementation phase of the Career Review is due to be completed by the end of 2022.

Scotland's Career Review recommendations were published in February 2022.[63] The review engaged with the lived experiences of young people and stakeholders representing a diverse range of backgrounds to generate recommendations tailored to the needs of those who are most vulnerable in the labour market.

Although the Career Review did not take a specific focus on socio-economic disadvantage, the tailored recommendations for certain protected characteristics will, to some extent, reflect and benefit young people who have experienced poverty.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 4.5.2: Skills Development Scotland (SDS) will continue to implement the Principles of Good Transitions across our Career Information Advice and Guidance (CIAG), through targeted Continuous Professional Development for all customer facing CIAG colleagues and managers by the end of March 2023.

The Career Review recommends that career services embed the Principles of Good Transitions for young people[64]. This could generate positive impacts where there are young people from socio-economic disadvantaged backgrounds who are looking to enter the job market and require extra help, potentially through training or professional development.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is minor positive.

Action 4.6: Health and Work: Aligning with the Scottish Government's Fairer and More Equal Society (FMES) Programme by December 2023, Public Health Scotland (PHS) to:

  • Collaborate with NHS Boards to develop the NHS Scotland contribution to achieving fair and healthy work outcomes for people across Scotland; and
  • Work with Scottish Government, Local Government and NHS Boards to define the health offer to enable those with health conditions to secure, sustain and progress in work.

Collaboration between NHS Boards to develop the NHS Scotland contribution to achieving fair and healthy work outcomes for people will likely have beneficial impacts on socio-economic disadvantaged groups. Many people who experience poverty also experience poor health outcomes, both mental and physical.

Formulating a definition of what health offer the Scottish Government can make in relation to Fair Work also has the possibility to be highly beneficial. Research over the past decade has increasingly exposed the link between zero-hour contracts and poor mental health[65]. Overrepresentation of socio-economic disadvantaged workers in zero-hour contract roles or in precarious work[66] likely means that they are also subject to the increased risk of poor mental health. Therefore, defining the health offering that can be made in relation to Fair Work should enable it to be specific and targeted to the needs of individuals trying to find work that is fair.

The provisional FSDA score for this action is major positive.


Email: FairWorkCommissioning@gov.scot

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