Scotland's Devolved Employment Services: statistical summary

This publication presents statistics for Fair Start Scotland (FSS) from April 2018 to June 2022 and experimental statistics on the No One Left Behind strategic approach to employability delivery, reporting on those receiving support from April 2019 to March 2022.


Background Information

1. Official and Experimental Statistics

Statistics for No One Left Behind are Experimental Statistics. Experimental statistics are defined by the Code of Practice for Statistics as 'a subset of newly developed or innovative official statistics undergoing evaluation, that are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in the assessment of their suitability and quality at an early stage'.

Statistics for Fair Start Scotland are official statistics – they are no longer classified as experimental statistics. This early stage has now passed, with user feedback used to improve the publication, though any comments or feedback are still welcome.

More detail on designation of statistics can be found at:

UK Statistics Authority - Types of official statistics (www.gov.uk)

2. Reporting periods

Fair Start Scotland. This publication reports on all referrals and starts from 13 March 2018 to the end of the most recent quarter (30 June 2022). The service was launched on 3 April 2018 (Q1). There was an opportunity for referrals to be made and starts to be recorded for a short period prior to the launch of the service, commencing 13 March 2018. Referrals and starts which occurred before the official launch of the service are reported along with the April 2018 data.

No One Left Behind. This publication reports on all participants who received support from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022.

3. Fair Start Scotland (FSS) background information

Tables

Detailed statistics on the number of referrals to FSS, number of starts and job outcomes are presented in the accompanying tables, numbered 1 to 12. Tables 1 to 12 show changes to FSS over time; with Tables 4 to 12 providing breakdowns of equalities characteristics and Tables 11 and 12 providing data on participants that are parents. Table 13 provides a breakdown of data by local authority and FSS delivery area. The caveats that apply to national data also apply to local authority data (see the end of Background Information section 3).

Data sources

The Scottish Employability Tracking System (SETS)

SETS is the Scottish Government referrals tracking system for Fair Start Scotland. Information on those referred to FSS ('referrals') and outcomes relating to those individuals, including those who join FSS ('starts'), enter employment ('job starts'), and subsequently achieve employment outcomes ('job outcomes'), is recorded on SETS. It tracks the progress of referrals made to the service and provides management information in relation to performance.

The statistics in this release are based on figures extracted from SETS on 19 July 2022.

Information provided by service providers

The statistics on age, gender, long-term health conditions, disability and ethnic group are derived from information collected by service providers when an individual joins FSS. Information is usually collected via a combination of face-to-face interviews, SG equalities monitoring forms, phone conversations and electronic questionniares (see section Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on data quality); using SG recommended questions and published using related output classifications. The statistics in this release are based on returns for the period 13 March 2018 to 30 June 2022.

Methodology

Referral

The referral numbers published in this release are net figures, which excludes 2,662 rejected referrals. The vast majority of these were duplicates.

Starts

The 'start rate' i.e. the percentage of people who joined FSS is calculated by dividing the number of starts by the number of referrals within a given period. People who were referred in the most recent quarter, particularly at the end, may not have had time to join the service by the end of the month. Because of this, the start rate for the most recent quarter should not be used for considering the overall performance of the service.

Before April 2021, participants were only able to receive support from FSS once, therefore the number of starts on the service is the same as the number of unique people who have received support in years 1 to 3. With the extension of FSS beyond the initial three year period, from April 2021 people who have previously received support may re-join the service. There must be a break of at least 13 weeks since the person left FSS to become eligible. As a result of this change, the total number of starts in FSS, from the beginning of year 4 onwards and thus overall, is not the same as the number of people who have received support.

Early leavers

An early leaver is someone who exits the service before the end of the pre-employment support period without achieving an employment outcome.

Job starts

When an individual progresses into work, service providers record a 'job start' for the individual on SETS. An individual can enter employment more than once; however the figures in this publication are for the first recorded job. For individuals that re-join FSS, where applicable, their first recorded job during their initial period on the service will be counted as will their first recorded job during their second period on the service. All figures are up to the end of June 2022.

Employment outcomes

A 3 month (13 week) job outcome is achieved when a participant stays in a job, or is self-employed, working 16 hours per week or more, for at least 13 weeks out of 16; that is, continuous employment, but not necessarily in the same job, lasting 13 out of 16 weeks.

A 6 month (26 week) job outcome is achieved when a participant stays in a job, or is self-employed, working 16 hours per week or more, for at least 26 weeks out of 30; that is, continuous employment, but not necessarily in the same job, lasting 26 out of 30 weeks (breaks in employment must total no more than 4 weeks).

A 1 year (12 month, 52 week) job outcome is achieved when a participant stays in a job, or is self-employed, working 16 hours per week or more, for at least 52 weeks out of 60; that is, continuous employment, but not necessarily in the same job, lasting 52 out of 60 weeks (breaks in employment must total no more than 8 weeks).

Data quality

Some inconsistencies in responses to the questions on long-term health conditions and disability, as reported by service providers, were identified and amended as follows:

Of those people who responded 'No' to the question asking whether respondents had a physical or mental health condition lasting, or expected to last 12 months or more:

  • 4,587 participants answered the second question on extent of limitation (113 yes, a lot; 519 yes, a little; 3,955 not at all). These responses were excluded from the totals.
  • 2,249 people reported one or more long-term health condition (2,552 conditions in total were recorded). These conditions have been excluded from the count of long-term health conditions.

Comparisons with other employment services' data

Please use caution when comparing FSS data with data from other employment services across the UK, as features of service design (e.g. whether voluntary or mandatory, eligibility criteria) and definitions (e.g. how job outcomes are measured) may differ.

Local authority data

Please use caution in interpreting data at lower levels of geography, as numbers are small in some instances and there are many factors contributing to variations in totals across local authorities. The Scottish Government's evaluation of year 1 of FSS suggests factors include the local reputation of FSS staff, the prior roles of staff and the reputation of previous services, the range of other existing services available in the area, the relationship between FSS provider staff and JCP work coaches, and the range and scale of local job opportunities[44].

Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on Fair Start Scotland

This publication includes data for FSS over a period from March 2020 onwards when the COVID-19 pandemic, associated public health measures and economic and labour market impacts have caused several changes which impact the statistics published here.

Key changes to FSS include the following:

1) Early in the pandemic, The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refocused their work to deal with the increased demand for benefit claims, so FSS referrals from DWP were paused between April and June 2020.

2) As a result of this, there was an increase in the proportion of referrals to FSS through other avenues, particularly from FSS providers' own marketing efforts.

3) FSS switched from face-to-face interaction to delivery via phone calls and online interaction. This affected the equalities data collected, with a decrease in people disclosing information on protected characteristics like ethnicity on joining FSS. Data collection methods were adapted to the new circumstances in consideration of data protection guidance. It also caused disruption to some providers where data was held in the workplace and was not available to staff working from home. There were particularly high levels of missing data for ethnicity in July to September 2020. Data collection has since improved. During the quarter April-June 2021 some providers had a limited return to meeting participants in person, depending on the local situation and participant's preference.

4) There was a relaxation of rules specifying how often participants must be in contact with providers, from March to September 2020. This meant that some people who would otherwise be considered to have left the service during this period stayed on FSS.

5) There were fewer job vacancies in Scotland for approximately one year. ONS data[45] showed a sharp reduction in job vacancies in Scotland during April 2020 to approximately 40% of the level seen in February 2020, finally returning to February 2020 levels by April 2021. Lower levels of job vacancies would be expected to affect rates of job starts and outcomes in FSS, but numbers of job starts in FSS didn't necessarily follow trends in job vacancies.

4. No One Left Behind Background Information

Data collection

All participant data is collected and recorded on management information systems by Scottish local authorities. Data returns are submitted to the Scottish Government on a quarterly basis. No centralised recording system is in place.

Self-assessed disability is reported only if and when it is perceived by the participant as being a barrier for them to finding employment. This means that recording and reporting of disability is not comprehensive and is not currently collected using the SG recommended questions.

We first published statistics on No One Left Behind outcomes in February 2021 for year 1 participants, derived from the aggregate data that was collected during that period. Since then we have developed year 1 data and combined it with data currently collected for subsequent periods, which has allowed us to provide more detailed information for year 1 participants, including their achievements.

Starts

People are registered to start receiving support by a local authority Key Worker.

Employment outcomes

Employment outcomes are defined as follows:

Where the participant has sustained employment (employment, self-employment, Modern Apprenticeship) for 13 weeks a self-declaration signed by the participant and countersigned the Employability Key Worker will confirm the 13 week milestone has been achieved.

Where the participant has sustained employment (employment, self-employment, Modern Apprenticeship) for 26 weeks a self-declaration signed by the participant and countersigned the Employability Key Worker will confirm the 26 week milestone has been achieved.

Comparisons with other employment services' data

When comparing with Fair Start Scotland:

Starts and employment outcomes are measured in a similar way and are therefore comparable. However, both the support offered and the groups targeted by these services are different, which may affect both the demographics and outcomes of participants.

For other services across the UK, features of service design (e.g. whether voluntary or mandatory, eligibility criteria) and definitions (e.g. how job outcomes are measured) may differ to a greater extent.

5. Previous editions of this publications

This publication has previously reported on Work First Scotland (WFS), Work Able Scotland (WAS), and the Health & Work Support pilot in Dundee and Fife. These services have now closed. The final statistics for WFS and WAS were published 26 February 2020 (Scotland's Devolved Employment Services: statistical summary - February 2020), and the final statistics for the Health & Work Support pilot were published 27 May 2020 (Scotland's Devolved Employment Services: statistical summary - May 2020). Other services operate within Scotland, including those run by local authorities and third sector providers, and these are not included in this publication.

6. Tell us what you think

We are always interested to hear from our users about how our statistics are used, and how they can be improved.

Please consider answering our short survey on how you found this publication.

7. Correspondence and enquiries

For enquiries about this publication, please contact:

Linzi Pidgeon

E-mail: EmployabilityData@gov.scot

For general enquiries about Scottish Government statistics, please contact:

Office of the Chief Statistician

Telephone: 0131 244 0442

E-mail: statistics.enquiries@gov.scot

8. Complaints and suggestions

If you are not satisfied with our service or have any comments or suggestions, please write to:

Chief Statistician

St Andrews House

Edinburgh

EH1 3DG

Telephone: (0131) 244 0302

e-mail: statistics.enquiries@gov.scot

Contact

Email: employabilitydata@gov.scot

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