PACE partnership review: September 2019

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

Gaps in Services

This section looks at the services that local partnerships provide and what types of service there may be gaps around.

Services being provided

From our survey of Local Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) Partners, it is clear, as Figure 14 shows, that most services focus on Employability advice, benefits advice, career development and training. This reflects the main roles of the core partners involved in PACE delivery.

Figure 14 Services provided by local PACE Partners

Figure 14 Services provided by local PACE Partners

Source: Local PACE Partner survey 2019 (n=112)

Other types of support are developed collaboratively through PACE, for example: Future Jobs Fairs in the Forth Valley PACE Partnership. In this partnership, the Local Authority will generally take the lead in organising the jobs fair to promote employment opportunities alongside wider PACE support in the context of major redundancies. In responding to the Carron Phoenix redundancy scenario, a series of ten Future Jobs Fairs were organised which were 'clearly beneficial' in getting people other employment or retraining opportunities.

Types of service that may be needed

Broadly, across the majority of partnerships that we engaged with, there were two areas where there were perceived to be gaps in services provided through PACE, these were:

  • consistently funded training; and
  • mental health and wellbeing support.

Other' less frequently identified issues were:

  • linking up more effectively to current or emerging job opportunities; and
  • earlier intervention (before redundancies announced).

Issues around accessing funding

One key element highlighted in our research was the limitations on resources for training. This was highlighted across all local partnership areas where we carried out focus groups. As one focus group participant commented:

'There is no 'clear route to funding'. In the past, each LEC used to have its own pot of funding for redundancy support. There is nothing that meets the needs fully (outside of the Oil and Gas Transition Training Fund). People looking to upskill or renew their CSCS 'tickets' need to use the JCP funding (Rapid Response). The Employability Fund is being moved to Local Authority administration and the number of Stage 4 places is declining. The Individual Training Account doesn't fit every situation.'

The lack of consistency across different geographies in funding was also highlighted by survey respondents:

'A big issue for Careers Advisers is the lack of consistency with the Employability Fund and geography. Not all customers can be offered similar training opportunities due to them being from a different local authority area.'

Mental health services

Local partnerships highlighted a growing need for mental health and wellbeing support as part of the package of measures available to customers.

'PACE needs to strengthen its service in certain PACE situations - responding to clients with mental health and anxiety issues.'

Most partnerships have information and signposting details to NHS or third sector providers of support. The only local partnership with direct provision for mental health services that we spoke to was Forth Valley, which has Falkirk and District Association for Mental Health (FDAMH) as one of its delivery partners. FDAMH are involved in the Future Job Fair events, and while they generally do not get many people approaching directly, they get a lot of calls afterwards. This partnership also signposts links to national services that deal with transition. Some people prefer to access help anonymously or remotely, while others will want face-to-face support.

Another of the local Chairs highlighted that mental wellbeing is an area where there is often a demand in the larger-scale redundancies. It is something they are getting asked about more frequently. At the moment they direct people to online resources and they have pulled together a two-page leaflet with resources about managing stress and mental health.

Links to job opportunities

While connecting those going through redundancy with current or emerging job opportunities is a key element in PACE delivery, there are inconsistencies in the extent to which local partners implement this. Several survey respondents highlighted this as an area where services could be strengthened.

'Would like to have better links with agencies who liaise with companies looking to set up, take over, utilise redundant workforce.'

Early intervention

Several stakeholders and survey respondents highlighted the potential for PACE to get involved with businesses at an earlier stage than currently. One suggestion was that PACE could respond to earliest notification of court orders against companies for the late or disputed payment of bills, as this would provide signs of business stress and distress.

Another issue raised was the impact of a large-scale redundancy scenario on the local and wider supply chain. Pre-emptive support could be directed towards supply chain and downstream businesses who may be at risk of knock on impacts from job losses.

Groups who may need further support

Older workers

Several focus group participants and survey respondents highlighted the specific needs of older workers. Over 55s always appear to be the group that struggle the most in terms of transitioning into another job or retraining. However, this is not necessarily a factor related to PACE, but reflective of wider barriers in the labour market, and the lower likelihood of older workers having transferable skills or recent job-search experience.

'Previous research confirmed it is harder for older individuals affected by redundancy to find work. I think PACE and government need to do a big promotion campaign to extol the virtues of mid-older workers to employers; especially in light of demographic changes, Brexit etc.'

While these workers are being reached by PACE teams, they tend to require more support to get back into the jobs market.



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