No One Left Behind - The Next Phase
Both Scottish and Local Government remain committed to the shared ambition of No One Left Behind, to deliver a Scottish approach to employability that focuses on the needs of the individual first and foremost. A person-centred system that is more flexible and responsive to the changing labour market, tackles inequalities and grows Scotland's economy is needed now more than ever as we shape our collective economic and wellbeing response to the current public health crisis.
The expectation of increasing levels of unemployment, underemployment and child poverty as a result of the pandemic has far reaching consequences. Tackling child poverty is one of our overarching priorities and fair, sustainable work is central to improving the lives of all families in Scotland. These factors, combined with a recognition that many of those further away from jobs will now face additional challenges in the labour market has introduced further impetus to our work. We remain committed to strengthening employability support to mitigate these consequences as far as we can.
The employability response to COVID-19 must address the needs of individuals of all ages and circumstances, and needs to build on the well-established services managed by Scottish and Local Government and others across the Scottish employability landscape. The resilience and adaptability that partners have shown in responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19 is outstanding and we recognise that this ability to adapt and flex will be crucial to further embedding the No One Left Behind approach.
Prior to COVID-19, significant progress had been made to begin the integration and alignment of the systems and approaches to employability across Scotland with the successful transition of Activity Agreements and Scottish Employer Recruitment Incentive into the No One Left Behind partnership model.
Our recovery will be an opportunity to do things differently - and crucially, to rebuild our economy with wellbeing and fair work at its heart. This is exactly what No One Left Behind sets out to do and we remain committed to bringing about this transformation in partnership through collective leadership, a collaborative approach and significant cultural change.
We welcome the input of both the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery (AGER) and the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board (ESSB/ERAG), recognising that stability and a well-supported employability sector is crucial to successful economic recovery.
It is therefore essential that No One Left Behind proceeds at a pace that enables us to sustain the employability system and provide stability to the support that users of this system rely upon. On this basis, we have agreed in principle that Community Jobs Scotland and Employability Fund will be operational in the next financial year (2021/22), subject to the budget and spending review process.
In moving forward, we will work towards delivering the next phase of No One Left Behind from April 2022. The pace and scale of implementation will be subject to a robust readiness assessment underpinned by a decision making framework developed jointly during 2021 by Scottish and Local Government and delivery partners. This will allow all partners to work collectively on a robust plan for change, underpinned by strong, inclusive and agile local employability partnerships which are responsive to labour market demands and challenges.
This No One Left Behind Delivery Plan outlines the next phase of work setting out key actions to ensure we realise our ambition for more effective and joined-up support across Scotland. It also sets out our aspiration to wider engagement involving a range of partners and stakeholders. This is reflective of our shared commitment to collective leadership from partners at national, regional and local levels to deliver the transformation required to ensure we have tailored and responsive services, to improve outcomes for all our communities.
Only by working together and trusting each other to put person centred principles at the forefront and thinking beyond organisational boundaries, can we create the environment for service redesign that makes a lasting impact for those who face inequalities and remain furthest from Scotland's labour market.