No One Left Behind: equality impact assessment - update summary

No One Left Behind is our approach to transforming employment support in Scotland. It aims to deliver a system that is more tailored and responsive to the needs of people of all ages, especially those who are disadvantaged in the labour market.

Executive Summary


Scottish Ministers remain committed to addressing social and economic inequalities, supporting people towards and into fair and sustainable work following the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation in Ukraine together with the cost of living crisis means that the economic outlook is increasingly uncertain and economies need to build resilience. Scotland's economy has continued to recover from the pandemic.

Our National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET) seeks to ensure our economy is more resilient to shocks, and commits to establishing a new measure of the resilience, monitoring, assessing and identifying actions to future-proof Scotland's economy over the long term.

The Scottish Government aims to support the delivery of a fairer Scotland through addressing existing social and economic inequalities and preventing those who are most vulnerable from being further disadvantaged by facilitating and funding effective transitions into the labour market.

Our No One Left Behind approach offers an all age, flexible, joined up and user centred model to deliver employability support across Scotland. This support will be straightforward to navigate and is integrated and aligned with other services, particularly health, justice and housing provision. This approach has changed the way Scottish Government funds employability support delivery and in the longer term is intended to result in efficiencies and service improvements being achieved.


Implementation of No One Left Behind is taking place on a phased basis, with national programmes ceasing and being replaced by a local allocation of No One Left Behind investment across the 32 local authority areas.

Phase 1 was implemented in April 2019 when 'Activity Agreements' and 'Scotland's Employer Recruitment Incentive' ceased. Phase 2 went live in April 2022 incorporating funding previously allocated to Community Jobs Scotland and the Employability Fund.

In addition to the phases set out above, No One Left Behind has been supplemented by the Parental Employability Support Fund and the local element of the Young Person's Guarantee.

It is also the vehicle through which we will deliver the offer to parents seeking to increase their income from earnings as set out in Best Start Bright Futures (March 2022), demonstrating the benefit of a flexible and responsive local employability model in responding quickly to emerging priorities.

The impacts of COVID-19 pandemic have been different across certain groups and geographies. For example, evidence suggests that the pandemic disproportionately impacted young people in the labour market. The unemployment rate of 16-24 year olds worsened to a much greater extent than other age groups between 2019 and 2020, rising by around 5 percentage points to 13.2% over the year. More recently, between 2020 and 2021, the 16-24 unemployment rate has fallen, suggesting some recovery, but it remains elevated when compared to pre-COVID estimates.

A Young Person's Guarantee was launched to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, learning from previous economic downturns. Specific priority is being given to those who are considered to be most at risk and have multiple barriers to employment, to help support their engagement, participation and progression. The ambition of the Guarantee is that every person aged between 16 and 24 will have the opportunity to study; take up an apprenticeship, job or work experience or participate in formal volunteering.

There are around 33,000 people in Scotland who have been unemployed for at least 12 months (ONS, Annual Population Survey, Jan-Dec 2021) and disabled people are over-represented, who face further barriers to employment. Many equality groups are already underrepresented in the labour market and are now some are at risk of being left further behind as the economy recovers, and suffering long term economic scarring effects as a result.

To mitigate the worst effects of turbulence in the economy we have made significant and targeted investments to ensure that we not only 'build back better' but also more fairly.

Employability has a pivotal role in addressing existing social and economic inequalities, preventing those who are most vulnerable from being further disadvantaged by the economic shocks. We recognise the vital role of organisations across the employability landscape, and are committed to protecting a diverse range of provision to ensure the right support is available for those who need it most, creating advantage for those who are experiencing disadvantaged.



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