2.1 This report details findings from the seventh wave of research into the experiences of clients receiving redundancy support services through 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 24 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 Skills Development Scotland (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 86% across all services in 2020).
2.7 In the two years preceding the 2022 survey, significant changes were made to the delivery of PACE services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns. This resulted in a shift to services predominantly being delivered online and by phone rather than face-to-face, as well as the introduction of webinars and other online resources. The impact of this change in delivery format is investigated in the 2022 survey.
Aims and objectives
2.8 Two years on from the previous survey, the Scottish Government and SDS commissioned IFF Research to conduct a further follow-up study comprising two core components:
- Follow-up interviews with PACE clients who took part in the 2020 survey to ascertain longer-term outcomes; and
- Interviews with a “new” group of PACE clients who had received support more recently (since January 2020).
2.9 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 users (e.g. by age, sex, socio-economic group);
- Explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals and services;
- Gauge the extent to which clients have accessed PACE services;
- Examine client views about the PACE service (e.g. relevance, usefulness and timeliness of each service 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 to inform its future development.
2.10 The 2022 Client Experience research incorporated two strands; a telephone survey of 852 new clients who have accessed PACE services since January 2020; and a follow-up telephone survey of 242 individuals who took part in the previous wave of research in March 2020 (after accessing PACE services in the period January 2018 to January 2020).
2.11 All interviews were conducted by IFF Research using Computer Aided Telephone Interviewing (CATI) software. Fieldwork took place in February and March 2022.
2.12 In a change from previous surveys, weighting was applied to data on the ‘new’ survey to ensure this was representative of the population of all PACE clients by age, gender and timepoint of accessing services (before and after the first COVID-19 lockdown). As a result of this change in methodology, caution should be taken when comparing findings from new clients in the 2022 survey (weighted) with previous years (unweighted).
2.13 The methodology is detailed further in Appendix A.
About this Report
2.14 This report covers the findings of the two 2022 surveys, with the main body of the report first focusing on the survey of new clients (those accessing PACE services since January 2020). The findings from the longitudinal follow-up survey of respondents taking part in the 2022 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 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 specific 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, and their preferred format for service delivery (whether this be online, by phone or face-to-face).
- Chapter 4 describes the influence of PACE on post-redundancy outcomes, including the movement into employment or training.
- Chapter 5 uses data from the 2022 longitudinal survey to highlight the influence of PACE over the longer term (for clients using the service between 2018 and 2020 and who took part in the 2020 survey of ‘new’ clients).
- Chapter 6 draws together the key messages arising from both strands of the research.
2.15 The report also contains supplementary appendices which present detail on the methodology (Appendix A), time series data for key metrics (Appendix B), and additional information on longitudinal respondents (Appendix C).
2.16 The 2022 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, 2018 and 2020 surveys of new clients.
2.17 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 seven 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 per cent.
2.18 It should also be stated that the 2022 survey is the first one to be undertaken since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of this should be considered when reflecting on any differences from previous years. Notably, as a result of the pandemic, PACE services moved to an online delivery model, whereas in previous years the majority of PACE services were delivered face-to-face.
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