Partnership Action for Continuing Employment: client experience survey 2020

This report provides key findings on the influence of the Scottish Government's initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE).

1. Executive Summary

Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) is the Scottish Government’s national strategic framework for responding to redundancy situations. PACE aims to minimise the time people affected by redundancy are out of work through providing skills development and employability support.

This report details findings from research into the experiences of clients receiving redundancy support services through PACE. This research is the fifth iteration of research assessing client experiences of PACE.[1]

Main messages

Work outcomes in the 2020 survey continue the same positive trend as seen in previous years: the proportion of participants who have secured work either before or after their redundancy has remained encouragingly high at 81% (stable since 2018). Of those that had secured work, the majority had found work which required at least the same, or higher, level of skills (73%) and either the same or higher level of responsibility (67%). These proportions have increased compared to 2018. Fewer workers had taken a pay cut in their new role compared to 2018 (43% had done so, compared to 54%).

The improvement in the characteristics of work secured post-redundancy in 2020 may be driven by the younger profile of people taking part in the 2020 survey, compared to 2018, as well as the change in profile of the people supported by PACE since 2018: PACE supported a much higher volume of oil and gas workers in the period leading up to the 2018 survey compared to the same period before the 2020 survey. Older workers, as with those made redundant from the oil and gas industries, were less likely to report that their subsequent jobs required a higher level of skills or responsibility or offered higher pay.

Overall satisfaction with PACE has significantly increased since 2018, with 83% of PACE clients saying they were satisfied (up from 76% in 2018). Again, this increase may be related to the increased proportion of younger survey participants who were more likely to be satisfied with their PACE experience. Reported satisfaction with individual PACE services also continues to be high, with an average of 86% of clients reporting being satisfied across all services (this is stable over time).

Looking to longer term outcomes, around eight in ten (81%) clients followed up in 2020 would recommend PACE to people going through redundancy, which is broadly in line with the 75% of clients followed up in 2018 who would do so – however, encouragingly, the proportion who would be ‘very likely’ to recommend PACE has increased over time.

Key findings

Profile and characteristics of individuals accessing PACE services

  • The profile of respondents in 2020 is broadly similar to that in 2018: the majority were male (64%), older (43% were aged over 50) and identified themselves as White British (91%).[2] However, compared to 2018, there were some changes in the profile of those taking part in the client experience survey:
  • A small increase in the proportion aged under 30 taking part (33%, compared to only 27% in 2018). The proportion of younger respondents is slightly higher than among the overall population of PACE clients in 2020, where 27% were aged 30 or under.
  • A small increase in the proportion of female respondents from 2018 (34% compared to 28% in 2018). This broadly reflects the overall proportion of PACE clients in 2020, of whom 39% were female.
  • There was also an increase in the proportion of respondents in the lower socio-economic grades (53% in the C2DE socio-economic group[3] compared to 39% in 2018).
  • Fewer respondents had been made redundant from the oil and gas sector in 2020: only one % of respondents compared to 18% in the 2018 survey. This reflects the profile of the PACE clients made redundant from the oil and gas sector supported between 2018 and 2020 (one % overall).

The extent to which clients access specific PACE services on offer

  • The suite of PACE services continues to be widely used by clients. The PACE presentation continues to be the most commonly accessed service (81%), and the majority of customers had also received information about training and funding sources (62%), help with CVs/applications/letters (59%), and benefits information (57%).
  • Compared to 2018, the proportion of clients using other PACE services in addition to the PACE presentation increased. In 2020 nearly three-quarters (74%) had accessed the PACE presentation as well as other services, compared to 66% who had done so in 2018. This is important as clients taking up more than just the PACE presentation tend to have a more positive experience overall.

Views on the relevance, usefulness and timeliness of PACE services used, as well as satisfaction with service delivery

  • Overall satisfaction of all PACE services continues to be high, with an average of 86% of clients reporting being satisfied across all services. This has remained stable with the 2018 client survey, where 85% of clients were satisfied across all services on average.
  • Services continue to be perceived as relevant by over three-quarters of PACE clients (78% felt services were relevant on average, which is consistent over time, with 79% in 2018). The PACE services perceived to be most relevant were: help with CVs/applications/letters (rated as relevant by 88% of clients); support from the Money Advice Service[4] (88%); help with interviews/job search strategies (86%), and the Positive Steps to your Future handbook (85%).
  • Overall, respondents were positive about the timeliness of PACE support: three-quarters or more of clients were satisfied with the timeliness of PACE services, feeling that the timing was ‘perfect’ or ‘about right’ for each service. The proportion of clients reporting at least one PACE service was delivered too late has decreased over time from 31% in 2014, 30% in 2016, 25% in 2018, down to 23% in 2020. Only seven % of respondents in 2020 felt that any service was received too early.

The influence of PACE on individuals’ progression into learning and employment, as well as the extent of ‘softer’ benefits to individuals’ lives

  • The proportion of participants who have secured work post-redundancy remains high at 81% (and consistent with 80% in 2018). Of those clients that had secured work, the majority had found work which required at least the same, or higher, level of skills (73%) and either the same or higher level of responsibility (67%). These proportions have increased compared to 2018. Fewer workers had taken a pay cut in their new role compared to 2018 (43% had done so, compared to 54%).
  • Of those that had secured work post-redundancy, the majority (91%) had done so within six months; an increase from 2018 where 82% had found work within six months.
  • Longer-term outcomes also continue to be positive for PACE clients. Amongst those clients that were first interviewed in 2018 and followed up again in 2020 (up to four years after redundancy), around nine in ten had secured work (93%, representing a significant increase from 88% in 2018). Younger clients were more likely to have secured full-time, permanent work. This is consistent with findings from previous PACE surveys.
  • A notable proportion of clients (51%) continue to find post-redundancy work (or self-employment) in a different industry to the role from which they were made redundant; though the proportion finding employment in the same, or broadly similar, industry has risen from 2018 (48% had done so in 2020, compared to 36% in 2018).
  • The majority tend to secure jobs with higher levels of skills and responsibility in the longer term, after moving job to another employer (or different self-employment). Unlike in 2018, this improvement is also seen in relation to pay: 43% saw an increase in pay in their current position relative to the job they were made redundant from (vs. 36% in 2018).
  • Clients are positive about the impact of PACE on their employment outcomes with just under half of clients surveyed (48%) agreeing that PACE helped them re-transition into work. This is a consistent long-term trend (with 46% in 2018 and 47% in 2016 attributing their move back into employment to PACE).
  • For clients who entered education or training post-redundancy, PACE appeared to have less of an impact compared to those who had found work (30% felt PACE had helped them to access their education and training, compared to 48% who felt it had helped them move into work).

Recommendations for ongoing development

  • These survey findings indicate that employment outcomes continue to be positive and client perceptions of PACE demonstrate that the intervention is well received. In line with the PACE commitment to continuous improvement, the research identifies some areas for ongoing development.
  • It is important to recognise that there have already been improvements in the perceived timeliness of PACE delivery since 2016. However there remains scope to improve the timeliness of services, given that around a quarter of clients surveyed feel that they received services too late and spontaneous feedback from clients indicates that this is a key area in which they would like to see improvement.
  • We have seen that the new PensionWise service has been well received and that other longstanding services are still well received (with some services, such as the Money Advice Service, seeing improvements in their scores this year); however over time we have seen some of the more niche services – such as help with reading, writing or numbers, understanding tax responsibilities and help with starting a business - performing less well. It would be worth reviewing these survey results with delivery partners to see if any changes need to be made to services, as well as monitoring client views over time in future surveys.
  • For several years, the PACE surveys have shown high levels of satisfaction with the online and telephone support services but limited use. Whilst face to face support will always be important for some elements of delivery, a drive towards greater use of the telephone and online may become more appropriate as people’s contact preferences change. These options can be delivered more flexibly which might also help to ensure services reach clients in a timely way.
  • While the majority of clients had found work which required at least the same, or higher, level of skills and responsibility, there is still a significant minority who have taken a pay cut with the role they have gone into since their redundancy, with few going on to secure a job with a higher level of pay. Over the longer-term, clients who changed jobs from their post-redundancy role were more likely to secure a job with a higher level of pay. Promoting the longer-term support available through PACE or wider Skills Development Scotland (SDS) services would help clients to make the most of potential opportunities and to improve their post-redundancy prospects.
  • While PACE has engaged with an increasing number of under-represented groups (such as women, young people and those in lower-socio-economic categories), those engaging with PACE support continue to be predominantly White British men. Efforts should be made to make PACE more inclusive.



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