2.1 This report details findings from the sixth wave of research into the experiences of clients receiving redundancy support services as part of the Scottish Government’s Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative. PACE represents a collaborative approach to supporting individuals who are affected by redundancy back into work, thus promoting sustainable economic growth.
Background to the Research
2.2 Established in 2000, PACE is the Scottish Government’s national strategic partnership framework for responding to redundancy situations. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is responsible for supporting Scotland’s people and businesses to develop and apply their skills and, in conjunction with other key partners, SDS leads on the delivery of PACE support on behalf of the Scottish Government.
2.3 Through providing skills development and employability support PACE aims to minimise the time people affected by redundancy are out of work. Support provided through PACE to individuals and employers facing redundancy situations is wide ranging and includes: information, advice and careers guidance; CV preparation; advice on benefits; raising awareness of job vacancies; and funding to support training and career progression.
2.4 Following the economic downturn in 2008, the Scottish Government established the Ministerial PACE Partnership in 2009. This currently consists of 21 organisations who, together with the Scottish Government, oversee a continuous improvement programme to enhance the operation of PACE.
2.5 An example of this drive for continuous improvement includes the PACE Client Experience Survey which has been commissioned by the Scottish Government and SDS every two years, starting in 2010.
2.6 The surveys collect data on clients’ experiences of receiving a range of PACE services and the influence these services have had on their post-redundancy outcomes. Findings from the preceding surveys have largely been positive and demonstrate high satisfaction levels with PACE services (an average of 85% across all services in 2018). Extensive positive impacts were reported in relation to progression into new employment and further learning/development, as well as ‘softer’ benefits such as improved self-confidence and motivation. Nevertheless, there were some key areas of improvement identified in the 2018 survey, including an increase in perceived timeliness of PACE intervention and, compared to the 2016 survey, relatively fewer clients were in casual employment post-redundancy, with more having found full-time employment.
Aims and objectives
2.7 Two years on from the previous survey, the Scottish Government and SDS commissioned IFF Research to conduct a further follow-up study comprising of two core components:
- follow-up interviews with PACE clients who took part in the 2018 survey to ascertain longer-term outcomes; and
- interviews with a “new” group of PACE clients who had received support more recently (since January 2018).
2.8 Through enquiries amongst both audiences, the core aims of the research were to:
- review recommendations from previous research and assess whether it is appropriate to explore any issues in the client questionnaire
- provide an up-to-date picture of the profile and characteristics of PACE clients;
- gauge the extent to which clients have accessed PACE services;
- examine client views about the PACE service (e.g. the relevance, usefulness and timeliness of each service that PACE clients received, as well as their satisfaction levels);
- establish the influence that PACE has had on current and past clients’ progression into learning and/or employment, as well as the extent of ‘softer’ benefits to individuals’ lives, such as self-confidence and motivation; and
- make recommendations about the PACE service that will inform its future development.
About this Report
2.9 This report covers the findings of the two 2020 surveys, with the main body of the report first focusing on the survey of new clients (those accessing PACE services since January 2018). The findings from the longitudinal follow-up survey of respondents taking part in the 2018 study are then used to elucidate the long-term influence of PACE on people’s post-redundancy lives. The report is organised into the following chapters:
- Chapter 2 provides key details of the survey methodology as well as the profile of clients for the two 2020 surveys, to provide context for the findings.
- Chapter 3 covers client views on PACE services, including the perceived relevance of individual services, views on the usefulness of materials provided, and satisfaction with the way in which services are delivered. This chapter also examines the key issue of whether clients feel that PACE services are being made available to them at the right time.
- Chapter 4 describes the influence of PACE on post-redundancy outcomes, including the movement into employment or training.
- Chapter 5 uses data from the 2020 longitudinal survey to highlight the influence of PACE over the longer term (for clients using the service between 2016 and 2018 and who took part in the 2018 survey of ‘new’ clients).
- Chapter 6 draws together the key messages arising from both strands of the research.
2.11 The 2020 research has been designed to measure how client views on PACE have evolved since the first survey in 2010. Therefore, for key performance measures, comparisons are made in the report between the findings from the 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 surveys of new clients.
2.12 The report also highlights how the influence of PACE services varies according to demographic factors, and other variables such as the duration of support. Differences in the findings for sub-groups and the differences in findings between the four waves of research to date have been subjected to significance testing. Differences highlighted in the report are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. This means that the probability of any of these findings occurring purely by chance is less than five %.