Publication - Strategy/plan

No One Left Behind: review of employability services

Published: 5 Dec 2018
Directorate:
Fair Work, Employability and Skills Directorate
Part of:
Economy
ISBN:
9781787813922

Steps the Scottish Government will take to develop an employability system which is flexible, joined-up and responsive.

No One Left Behind: review of employability services
National Outcomes and Measurement Framework

National Outcomes and Measurement Framework

"So much policy delivery in this area is devolved to different agencies, with their own mechanisms, systems and processes. It is unclear to me just what levers and support structures are available to address barriers and to take advantage of any opportunities there may be…"[3] – Scottish Government’s Independent Adviser on Race Equality in Scotland 'Addressing Race Inequality in Scotland: The Way Forward’

If our ambition is to deliver more joined-up, flexible and responsive services, particularly for those further away from the labour market, then it will be important to develop an outcomes framework (essentially a tool that helps us to articulate and measure success) that enables this ambition – and our wider shared Purpose as set out in the National Performance Framework – to be achieved.

The evidence we have heard during the review suggests that the success of an employability system should be measured in more than job outcomes. Success should include how well the system helps people develop the skills and capabilities they need – that may extend beyond core employability skills – to progress towards employment. Such an approach could also consider wider issues around health and well-being. We will explore with partners how we can embed measures that can evidence whether employability services reflect the values of fairness, dignity and respect – those values that have underpinned the design of Fair Start Scotland.

We will work with partners to build on the gateway work already underway through No One Left Behind, SDS’s Next Steps service, and in local authorities, to ensure people can access support quickly and begin the right conversation about what help they need to get in to work. We will use this opportunity to work with the sector to explore how to support a shared approach to assessing and articulating user needs, supporting the referral process, providing consistency for the service user and supporting the creation of benchmarks through which the development and skills growth of the service user can be determined.

Crucially, a new framework must provide a vehicle for more consistent measurement of the effectiveness of services and greater transparency of performance data across the system.

A national outcomes and measurement approach, embedded in the principles of the National Performance Framework is an important way of setting strategic priorities and articulating success, but if it’s going to be successful it must support the work of local delivery partners – providing the space for frontline professionals to innovate, improve and deliver local priorities. Fundamentally, a focus on measureable outcomes – whilst essential as a way of driving performance – must not stifle the development of effective relationships between the people providing services and those using them.

It is the quality of these relationships – particularly for a system that is focused on those struggling in the labour market or facing more complex circumstances – that will be a key determinant of the success of Scotland’s employability system, and we must do everything we can to enable those relationships to flourish.[4]

Alongside establishing a new outcomes and measurement framework, we would like to build on the user-focused work we have been developing as part of Fair Start Scotland, and enable people to play a more meaningful role in the design and delivery of services. In part this will be about putting people using employability provision at the heart of the service design process, ensuring provision is designed with people, considering their capabilities and needs.

We would also like to explore how we might better articulate people’s rights and responsibilities so that these are more effectively embodied in everyday practice and service design. Reflecting the approach taken to deliver Social Security policy and the support for this approach which has been recognised by the UN’s special rapporteur to help those living in poverty fulfil their potential. This will be part of a wider discussion that we would like to encourage about how we put people, particularly the experience of those using employability services, at the heart of what we do – as strategic planners, commissioners, and delivery partners – across the employability system.

National Gateway and Digital Platform

There are a number of points through which people, seeking help to find work and begin their career, can access the employability system. We view this as a positive as it is necessary to ensure that people regardless of their situation or circumstance can speak with providers of employability services in a setting that works best for them. We want to make sure that regardless of the point at which people begin using the system it is structured in a way that supports them to move seamlessly to the provider or service that is best placed to help them as their skills and confidence grow. The Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board Strategic Plan reinforces this approach and we will align our work with these approaches.

To enable this we will work with Skills Development Scotland, Local Government and other partners to explore how we can align and enhance our existing digital platforms, including MyWorld of Work, so our digital offer in Scotland is appropriate and effective for users of all ages, whether people are setting out on their career or navigating through it.

We will work with partners to build on the gateway work already underway through No One Left Behind, SDS’s Next Steps service, and in local authorities, to ensure people can access support quickly and begin the right conversation about what help they need to get in to work. We will use this opportunity to work with the sector to explore how to support a shared approach to assessing and articulating user needs, supporting the referral process, providing consistency for the service user and supporting the creation of benchmarks through which the development and skills growth of the service user can be determined.

Building on SDS’ Next Steps service, and experience from Local Government and other delivery partners we will also explore options to develop a ‘key worker’ model of support for those who face the most complex circumstances.

We will explore how the ‘key worker’ role could link with wider services such as careers, further education, health, housing and justice, and could also be the point of contact for the whole family to monitor progression towards employment. We will work closely with partners to draw on existing best practice for this model of support, continually seeking to build on what good practice already exists and to consider options for how this support more in-work support.

Integration with Other Services

We know that tackling the challenges of long-term unemployment and supporting those groups who continue to struggle in the labour market, means doing far more than developing employability skills. It requires us to work across service and policy boundaries and join-up employability provision with other key statutory services such as health (including mental health), housing, justice and other areas. This will help simplify the journey to employment for people who are experiencing significant barriers to accessing work and it will help deliver better outcomes.

In No One Left Behind we set out a range of activity designed to better integrate employability provision with other key statutory services including health, justice and housing as we know these areas are critical to those facing severe labour market inequalities. The activities in No One Left Behind include:

  • working together with partners including Health and Social Care Partnerships, DWP, wider third sector bodies, and employers to pilot a Health and Work Support service in Fife and Dundee (launched in summer 2018) to help more disabled people, and people with health conditions access early support to help them sustain or return quickly to work;
  • we know that a person released from prison without a job is much more likely to re-offend as someone released with opportunities. We are collaborating with the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to support people leaving custody to access local and national employability services;
  • we recognise that people experiencing homelessness may have a number of barriers that could impact on their chances of finding and sustaining work. We want to make sure that frontline housing staff are equipped with information about employability services so we are supporting the development of a Housing Options Toolkit. The toolkit will be available to local authority and registered social landlord frontline staff involved in supporting people considering their housing options. It will include employability information which will help signpost more people to the most appropriate local and national employability services.

In addition to these projects we have been testing the integration of employability support with other health and social care, justice and housing services through 13 projects under the Employability Innovation and Integration Fund.[5] For example, EmployabiliTAY is the first regional employability course developed as a partnership across three local authorities (Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross) with the aim of improving the quality and integration of services. These services include housing, criminal justice, health and money/debt support, as well as employability.

Having a more joined up and co-ordinated approach helps a person to access services more easily, tackle barriers to employment and improves labour market outcomes.

These projects are on-going and work to evaluate them will be completed by autumn 2019. We will take the learning from these projects to assist us with the development of any new local delivery model.

We recognise that integration of employability with a range of other statutory services such as health, justice and housing is vital to tackling labour market inequalities. Working with our local authority partners, we will explore how statutory services can better align with employability provision so that those people who are further from the labour market can be supported into work in a more effective and joined up way.