1.1 As recommended by the Smith Commission, powers over certain employability services were devolved to the Scottish Government through Section 31 of the Scotland Act 2016. Powers were commenced in September 2016, with transitional employment services introduced on 3 April 2017. These will support up to 4,800 people with health conditions and disabilities into work before the full devolved service (Fair Start Scotland) launches on Monday 2 April 2018. SQW was commissioned to review the development and early implementation of the transition year services and this document reports on the findings from this.
Aims, objectives and approach
1.2 The aim of the review was to provide timely feedback on the development and early implementation of the transition year services, namely Work First Scotland ( WFS) and Work Able Scotland ( WAS). The key questions to be addressed were: what worked well; what worked less well and what would improve the pre-delivery and initial implementation phases in future.
1.3 The review was carried out over a short, intensive period. Consultations were conducted between 19 May and 8 June 2017 with relevant people from:
- Scottish Government ( SG)
- Department for Work and Pensions ( DWP)
- Skills Development Scotland ( SDS)
- Providers awarded contracts to deliver WFS and WAS
- Independent members of the Programme Board and Scotland's Devolved Employment Services Advisory Group.
1.4 A total of 27 people contributed to the review through three workshops (with SG, DWP and SDS) and 11 one-to-one interviews. The topic guides for the interviews and workshops were based on a review of key policy, programme and procurement documentation to provide background context.
Structure of report
1.5 The focus for the review was on exploring what worked well / less well and the findings have been organised around these themes. The chapters cover in turn:
- Policy and delivery context
- Governance and stakeholder engagement
- Partnership working
- Programme design and development
- Preparation for launch
- Early lessons from implementation.
1.6 The final chapter summarises the key messages.