Scotland's Devolved Employment Services: statistical summary May 2021

This publication presents statistics for Fair Start Scotland (FSS) from April 2018 to March 2021 and experimental statistics on the No One Left Behind strategic approach to employability delivery, reporting on those receiving support from April 2019 to December 2020.

This document is part of a collection

No One Left Behind (Experimental Statistics)


No One Left Behind is a strategy for placing people at the centre of the design and delivery of employability services. The transition to this new approach, delivered through a partnership agreement between Scottish and Local Government, commenced on 1 April 2019.

The No One Left Behind approach moves away from funding and delivering a number of separate and distinct employability programmes to a more flexible approach. Scottish and Local Government are working with third and private sector to deliver support which aims to be more joined-up and responsive to the needs of individuals of all ages and to local labour market conditions.

The support provided may vary from short, focused interventions or longer term support, dependent on individual circumstances. Participants can access the support they require on an ongoing basis and can engage and disengage at times that best suit their needs.

Individuals can self-refer to No One Left Behind support, or be referred through a variety of channels, including educational providers, local authorities, third sector organisations, Jobcentre Plus, and other local services.

How many people received support?

A total of 6,554 people were supported over the period April 2019 to December 2020, with 3,824[17] people starting in year 1 (April 2019 - March 2020), and 2,730 in the first three quarters of year 2 (April – December 2020).

The national lockdown in Scotland took effect on 23 March 2020, at the end of year 1, and so any effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to only be seen in year 2. Data for year 1 was reported as aggregate totals by local authorities. Individual level data collection was put in place from April 2020 and so more breakdowns for the period April to December 2020 are available.

During year 1, an average of 956 people started receiving support each quarter[18]. From April to June 2020, the first three months of the national lockdown, 388 people started receiving support, followed by a large increase over the July to September period to 1,380 and a decrease thereafter in the October to December period, to 962. Some of the decrease in the last quarter is likely to be seasonal[19].

So far in year 2, 38% of participants were women, and 61% were men. This is similar to year 1, where 40% of participants were women and 60% were men. In year 2 so far, there were slightly higher proportions of women in older age groups: 43% for 35-49 and 41% for 50+, but the overall numbers in these age groups are small, so differences at this stage should be interpreted with caution.

So far in year 2, 71% of participants were aged 15-19, 12% were 20-24, 10% were 25-49, and 7% were 50 or above. In year 1, 78% of participants were aged 15-19, 10% were 20-24, 8% were 25-49 and 4% were 50 or above.

So far in year 2, 3% of participants were from minority ethnic groups, 86% of participants were white, with ethnicity unknown for the remaining 12%. These statistics are not currently available for year 1 participants.

So far in year 2, 8% of participants were disabled (with 81% recorded as not disabled and 10% unknown). This compares to 17% of participants who were disabled in year 1.[20]

Employment outcome figures for year 1 participants were last reported in February 2021. Please see the 'Developing these statistics' section for more information.

Figure 11: Percentage of people supported through No One Left Behind, broken down by equality characteristic group, from April 2020 to December 2020

More men, young people aged 15-19, white and non-disabled people have been supported through NOLB

Developing these statistics

We have begun publishing data on people receiving employability support delivered under the No One Left Behind strategic approach. Publishing these statistics will contribute to understanding the impact of the approach, by providing information over time about participant journeys and achievements. In this release, we have included experimental statistics on participation in support during part of the COVID-19 period (April to December 2020) and will continue to provide quarterly statistical updates going forward. We are also doing work to develop the limited data we have for year 1 participants (April 2019 to March 2020) and combine it with data currently being collected. This will allow us to, for example, provide more information on outcomes achieved by participants who started over the course of year 1 (April 2019 to March 2020) in future publications.

The flexible, person-centred support No One Left Behind seeks to put in place means that participants may experience support differently, based on their individual circumstances and needs – for example, being able to disengage and reengage in support as required. As a result, participant journeys will differ in nature and pace, and progression and achievements will vary based on what a positive outcome for the individual would be. This means broadening our understanding of success from a focus on job outcomes to understanding the steps taken and progress made towards work.

As delivery under No One Left Behind is expanded over time (see the Delivery Plan) and we learn more about which data are important to report on to describe the journeys of the people who receive support, we will develop a range of statistics that are appropriate. Whilst we expect to produce some statistics that are similar to those for FSS, the range of data that we use and how we present them is likely to change and evolve over time, building a picture of the whole user journey. A key product to help us realise that ambition will be the Shared Measurement Framework.

The Employability Shared Measurement Framework

A key finding presented in the No One Left Behind: review of employability services was the requirement to align and streamline data collected across services, to enable a consistent approach to measurement and greater transparency of data across the system. The Shared Measurement Framework will initially set out key questions we need to answer to understand how well services are reaching and working for people, and then develop recommendations on which data we need to collect and report on to answer them.

We will gradually align our statistics reporting, where appropriate, to these recommendations over time. They will be particularly important to help us understand the journeys of those who are furthest away from the labour market and to develop the range of data that we publish.


To ensure the statistics are developed in a way which is useful to users, we will be asking for views on a range of topics as the development work described above is taken forward. If you have comments or questions in the meantime please contact:



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