1.1 Background and context
Partnership Action for Continuing Employment, PACE, is the Scottish Government's initiative for responding to redundancy situations. In 2009, the Scottish Government set up, the Ministerial PACE Partnership which brings together 22 organisations (see Appendix 1 on page 51 for a full list of partners) to oversee a continuous improvement programme to enhance the operation of PACE. Through providing skills development and employability support, PACE aims to minimise the time individuals affected by redundancy are out of work.
It is generally accepted that greater sharing of information between public sector bodies has the potential to bring benefits in terms of delivering more effective, efficient and often more personalised services. However, to realise these benefits requires hard work, and a number of barriers and challenges need to be recognised and/or overcome before successful data sharing can be achieved. Challenges can include technical incompatibilities, variations in data recording methods, cultural resistance, and the challenges raised by the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018. A number of studies have sought to address the data sharing issue, for instance in 2018 Carnegie UK in association with Involve produced Data for Public Benefit, a report which highlighted the need to balance the risks and benefits of data sharing. Like our study, this work involved a dialogue with the organisations and partners involved.
The current PACE continuous improvement programme includes a resolution to investigate data sharing amongst PACE Delivery Partners. Currently, it is believed that Skills Development Scotland (SDS) are the only delivery partner who consistently record individual level information about PACE clients. In the past, there have been isolated instances of redundancy information being collected, for instance, by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with Remploy redundancies that affected employees in several locations throughout Scotland in 2013.
This project emanates from a belief that effective sharing of individual level data between key PACE Delivery Partners could support Scottish Government (SG) policy by achieving a more complete and reliable data set for all partners to use for the benefit of people facing redundancy, delivering the following benefits:
|Benefits||Why it's important|
|A more accurate figure of those who have received PACE support||Currently only a fraction of individuals supported by PACE are recorded on a database held by SDS|
|A more effective redundancy support service for all those individuals facing redundancy||A database of individuals facing redundancy would allow partner organisations to record the interactions and interventions they have had with individuals|
|More effective and easier working for front-line service delivery staff||A database would allow front line staff to see what help and support individuals have received from other partners and act accordingly|
|More comprehensive and robust management information, that supports well-informed strategy decisions||An overall database would allow analysis of which services and interventions were most effective for the individuals involved|
|More accurate and complete reporting to the SG.||Better information on the number and outcomes for people involved in PACE|
Initial discussions with PACE representatives from SDS and the SG also highlighted how effective data sharing could:
- Establish a better understanding of the number of redundancies occurring in Scotland (as well as timing, and demographics, sector and skills-set of those affected)
- Measure and understand the effectiveness of PACE to establish how good a job it is doing
It is worth noting that these two aspirations are separate and as such may require separate solutions.
In the context outlined above, overall objectives of this project are to:
- Ascertain the views and level of commitment of PACE Delivery Partners to establishing a formal PACE data sharing system
- Identify any barriers that may stand in the way of data sharing
- Identify approx. costs for partners to implement data sharing
- Identify any current data sharing arrangements between the PACE Delivery Partners
- Identify what data, if any, is currently held on clients made redundant
- Make recommendations about the feasibility of PACE data sharing and the practical steps needed to implement it.
- Our methodology is set out in Appendix 2 on page 52.
The rest of this Final Report provides a detailed discussion of our findings and our key conclusions and recommendations.