Fair Start Scotland (FSS)
The Scottish Government launched FSS on 3 April 2018. It is a voluntary employability service that aims to support 38,000 people over a 3 year referral period.
The service is designed to meet the needs of those who face a range of challenges in obtaining work, including people with a disability or health condition, people with convictions, care-experienced young people, single parents, refugees, ethnic minorities, and people who live in some of the most deprived areas in Scotland. More information about the service can be found here.
Tables 1 to 16 in the accompanying Excel tables refer to FSS data. Table 16 provides all national totals (see Figure 1) at Local Authority (LA) level, mapped to FSS Delivery Area. Please use caution in interpreting data at lower levels of geography, as numbers are small in some instances. A range of factors contribute to variations in totals across LAs. Social research suggests factors include the local reputation of FSS staff, the prior roles of staff and the reputation of previous services, range of other existing services available in the area, relationship between FSS provider staff and JCP work coaches, and the range and scale of local job opportunities. Caveats that apply to national data also apply to LA data.
Figure 1: Overview of Fair Start Scotland, to end of September 2019
1. Participants are given 12 to 18 months of pre-employment support. They may start employment any time during this period, so not all job outcomes for the 16,130 FSS participants have happened yet.
2. Not everyone who started a job has had enough time to be counted in the 13, 26, or 52 week sustained job outcome figures
How many people joined FSS, to end of September 2019?
26,333 people were referred to FSS between its launch and September 2019 and 61% (16,130) of those joined. Figure 2 shows the number of people who started on FSS, from the referrals made in each quarter.
The proportion of referrals joining the service increased since the start of operation. 48% of those referred in quarter 1 (April to June 2018) of the service started on FSS, rising to 69% in April to June 2019. In the most recent quarter (July to September 2019), 65% of people referred went on to start on FSS before the end of September.
People who were referred towards the end of the most recent quarter may not have had time to join the service by the end of the reporting period. This means that the overall start rate, as well as that for the most recent quarter, will be updated in the next publication.
Figure 2: Quarterly referrals and starts on Fair Start Scotland, to end of September 2019
Social research evaluating the first year of FSS (via a phone survey of FSS participants) cites the most common reason mentioned by participants for engaging with the service was that they thought that the support could help them get back to work (45%). A further two-fifths liked the idea of receiving additional help and support (40%).
How many people have left FSS early so far?
FSS is a voluntary service, so people are free to join or leave the service whenever they want. People may disengage from the service (sometimes with no specific reason cited) for a variety of reasons depending on individual circumstances. An early leaver is defined as someone who leaves FSS before the end of the pre-employment support period without having achieved a job outcome. The pre-employment support period usually lasts for up to 1 year. In some cases, it can last for longer than a year, but this is for a small group of participants.
Overall, 5,443 people (34% of those joining) have left FSS early. As with job outcomes, this number changes with time. Figure 3 shows the percentage is lower in more recent quarters. This is likely reflecting the fact that people in the most recent quarters have been on the service for less time – as time goes on we get a more complete picture of numbers staying in FSS or leaving early. The most complete early leaver data for starts relates to the first quarter, where most people (98%) have had time to complete their pre-employment support. Of those who joined within the first quarter, 52% left before the end of the pre-employment support period without achieving a job outcome.
Figure 3: Percentage of FSS starts leaving early by start cohort, to end of September 2019
How many people entered and sustained employment so far?
A total of 4,126 FSS participants have started a job - on average taking three months after joining FSS.
FSS offers pre-employment support to help individuals move closer to work and find sustainable employment. The social research evaluation of the first year of FSS (via a phone survey of FSS participants) explored how the service affected an individual's motivation to find employment. It found that FSS had a positive effect on motivation to find employment for two thirds of participants (65%), with 41% reporting their motivation to find work had increased "a lot", 21% reporting their motivation levels had not changed and 10% reporting a decrease in motivation.
Of the 4,126 people who started jobs, 2,080 of those had sustained employment for at least 13 weeks, 1,062 had sustained employment for at least 26 weeks and 276 had sustained employment for at least 52 weeks. The average length of time taken to achieve a 13 week job outcome is currently around 6 months, and 9 months for a 26 week job outcome. However, there are large variations in the length of time taken to achieve job outcomes, as many factors influence both the path and pace of individual participant journeys.
Figure 4 shows that participants who started in the first quarter of FSS (and so have had most time on the service) have achieved the highest level of outcomes. All participants who started in the first quarter of the service (by the end of June 2018), except for the 2% of participants who are in extended pre-employment support, have had enough time for both completion of standard pre-employment support and for a 13 week job outcome to be achieved. This means that the rate of 22% of starts achieving a 13 week job outcome for April to June 2018 shown in Figure 4 is almost final. So far, for those starting on FSS in the first quarter of service, 72% of people sustaining employment for 13 weeks went on to sustain employment for 26 weeks and 34% for 52 weeks.
Figure 4: FSS participants achieving 13-week job outcomes, as a percentage of those who joined, by start quarter
What do we know about the people who joined FSS and those who achieved job outcomes so far?
From social research reports, we know that compared to the unemployed population of Scotland, FSS has a higher proportion of men and a lower proportion of women, a lower proportion of people from a minority ethnic background, a higher proportion of older participants, and a lower proportion of younger participants, and a higher proportion of people with a disability.
Gender and age
- More men (64%; 10,290) than women (35%; 5,675) joined FSS. This is reflected in the profile of people achieving 13, 26 and 52 week outcomes (64% men, 36% women for each).
- The most common age group for people joining FSS was 35 to 49 (29%; 4,691), followed by 50+ (28%; 4,550). There were lower numbers for 25 to 34 (22%; 3,616) and 16 to 24 (18%; 2,833)
- Compared with the profile of those joining the service, job outcomes were higher for the 25 to 34 age group for both men and women. This age group made up 22% of women joining FSS, 26% of those achieving 13 week outcomes, 28% of 26 week outcomes, and 30% of 52 week outcomes (Figure 5). The same age group made up 22% of men joining FSS, 25% of those achieving 13 week outcomes, 25% of 26 week outcomes, and 27% of 52 week outcomes (Figure 6).
- Compared with the profile of those joining the service, job outcomes were lower for the 50+ age group for both men and women. This age group made up 28% of women joining FSS but only 25-26% of those achieving job outcomes (Figure 5). The same age group made up 29% of men joining FSS but only 25-26% of those achieving job outcomes (Figure 6).
- The 16 to 24 and 35 to 49 age groups both achieved levels of job outcomes similar with the profile of those joining the service, for both men and women (Figures 5 and 6).
Figure 5: Age of females joining FSS and achieving 13, 26 and 52 week outcomes, to end of September 2019
Figure 6: Age of males joining FSS and achieving 13, 26 and 52 week outcomes, to end of September 2019
Health and disability
- 66% of those joining FSS reported having a long-term health condition. Of these, 78% were either 'limited a lot' or 'limited a little' in their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. This means that 52% of people joining FSS (8,407 out of 16,130) reported having a disability.
- The proportions of job outcomes achieved differ slightly compared to the profile of those joining the service, in relation to health and/or disability status, as shown in Figure 7.
- Figure 7 shows that 26% of people joining FSS reported no long-term health condition, but 29% to 32% of the job outcomes were reported for that group. Conversely, 17% of those joining FSS reported being limited a lot by long-term health conditions, but only 12% to 14% of job outcomes were reported by this group.
- The most common long-term health condition reported was mental health (38% of long-term health conditions; Figure 8).
- 55% of those with long-term health problems or disabilities reported one health condition, with 14% reporting two or more (Figure 9).
- Job outcomes for those reporting specific long-term health conditions and by number of health conditions can be found in the accompanying Excel tables.
Figure 7: Long-term health conditions and extent of limitation reported by those joining FSS and achieving 13, 26 and 52 week job outcomes, to end of September 2019
Figure 8: Long-term health conditions reported by those joining FSS, to end of September 2019
Figure 9: Number of long-term health conditions reported by those joining FSS, to end of September 2019
- 4% of people joining FSS reported being from minority ethnic groups (73% were white; 23% were unknown). The ethnic group profile of participants achieving 13 week (4% minority ethnic; 79% white), 26 week (4% minority ethnic; 83% white), and 52 week (5% minority ethnic; 79% white) job outcomes is similar to the ethnic group profile of those joining the service.
- Of all minority ethnic participants, 45% were women and 55% were men, compared to 34% and 64% respectively of white participants (Figure 10).
- The age groups with the highest proportion of minority ethnic participants are 25 to 34 and 35 to 49, with 6% for each age group. The lowest proportion is in the 50 plus group, with 2%
Figure 10: Ethnic group and gender of those joining FSS, to end of September 2019