PACE partnership review: September 2019

How local PACE partnerships are operating and what current issues they may face.



Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) is the Scottish Government's strategic national partnership framework for responding to redundancy situations. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) leads on the delivery of PACE on behalf of the Scottish Government, in conjunction with a number of key partners including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The Ministerial PACE Partnership, chaired by the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, brings 22 organisations together with the Scottish Government to oversee a continuous improvement programme to enhance the operation of PACE. This work forms part of that continuous improvement programme.

PACE aims to minimise the time individuals affected by redundancy are out of work. It is delivered primarily through 18 local PACE Partnerships, each operating with a high level of local flexibility and independence. SDS coordinates and chairs each local partnership; although membership varies across different areas depending on the local organisational and delivery context. PACE delivers a wide range of support to employers whose employees are going through the process of redundancy including employment rights, financial and pensions advice, benefits advice, careers information, advice and guidance, CV and job-search support, employability and vocational training support, and support to manage stress.

Research objectives

As indicated opposite, this work has been commissioned on behalf of the Ministerial PACE Partnership to provide an updated picture of how local PACE Partnerships are operating and what current issues they may face. The aims and objectives of the study were to:

  • establish the membership of the 18 local PACE Partnerships;
  • establish the operation of the PACE Partnerships;
  • highlight local communications and reflective practice mechanisms;
  • establish the processes adopted to respond to redundancy situations across the various Partnerships;
  • gauge the views of individual local PACE Partnership members on their involvement in the local PACE Partnership including input to strategy and provision of services;
  • identify new opportunities for PACE to develop and to refine the current model;
  • make recommendations for improving the reach of PACE, particularly in respect of SMEs and smaller numbers of individuals affected by redundancy;
  • make recommendations for any improvements that could be made to the PACE support provided; and
  • seek views about a PACE Pledge agreement for local PACE Partners to sign up to.


This research is based on primary research carried out in early 2019, including:

  • seven Focus groups with Local PACE Partnerships (further details in Appendix B);
  • seven Telephone interviews with other local PACE Chairs;
  • an online survey of local PACE Partners which received 132 responses; and
  • eight interviews with wider stakeholders: including DWP, Local Authority representatives, Trade Unions, Enterprise Agencies and the Scottish Government.

We have also reviewed previous internal research carried out among local PACE Partnerships in 2015 to provide comparative data where relevant. A copy of the survey questions is attached in Appendix C.

Report Structure

Following this introduction, the remainder of the report is structured into the following sections:

  • Partnership composition and roles
  • Communication and learning
  • Processes, approaches and reach
  • Gaps in services
  • Conclusions and recommendations



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