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, and help those people to reach sustained employment.
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 15 in the accompanying Excel tables refer to FSS data. Table 15 provides all national totals (see Figure 1) at Local Authority (LA) level, mapped to FSS Delivery Area. Caveats that apply to national data also apply to LA 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 LAs. 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, 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.
How many people joined FSS so far?
30,348 people were referred to FSS between its launch in April 2018 and December 2019. Figure 2 shows the number of people who started on FSS, from the referrals made in each quarter. The most recent quarter shows a slight drop in referrals compared with the previous quarter (9%) – this is likely to be a seasonal pattern, as the latest quarter contains December where numbers referred slow over the festive period. Looking at the annual change, the number of referrals in the latest quarter (October to December 2019) are 26% higher than the equivalent period in the previous year.
Out of those referred, 19,003 people went on to start FSS. The proportion of referrals starting the service has increased over time. 48% of those referred in quarter one of FSS (April to June 2018) started the service, rising to 70% in July to September 2019.
In the most recent quarter (October to December 2019), 66% of people referred went on to start on FSS before the end of December. 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.
The Scottish Government’s evaluation of year 1 of FSS found that the most common reason mentioned by participants for engaging with the service is 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%).
Figure 1: Overview of Fair Start Scotland, to end of December 2019
1. People joining FSS 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 people joining FSS have been achieved yet. Furthermore, not everyone who started a job has had enough time to reach 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year in employment – we therefore advise not to calculate proportions of job outcomes based on the numbers presented in this figure.
Figure 2: Quarterly referrals and starts on Fair Start Scotland (thousands), to end of December 2019
How many have people left FSS early so far?
FSS is a voluntary service and people are free to join or leave the service whenever they want. People may disengage from the service for a variety of reasons depending on individual circumstances; sometimes with no specific reason cited. An ‘early leaver’ is defined as someone who leaves FSS before the end of the pre-employment support period without having sustained employment for at least 3 months. The pre-employment support period usually lasts for up to 1 year. In some cases, it can last up to 18 months, but this has only applied to a small number of people so far.
Overall, 6,736 people have left FSS early. As with job outcomes, this number changes with time. Figure 3 shows that 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 on FSS or leaving early. 52% of people starting in the first quarter of FSS left the service early (without completing the support offered or achieving a job outcome). Similar proportions are seen in the second quarter of FSS. These quarters are focused on as they have the most complete data.
Figure 3: Percentage of FSS starts leaving early by start cohort, to end of December 2019
1. Up to 1 year of pre-employment support is offered to most participants, so the final percentage of people leaving early can only be accurately reported after one year has passed since they started on FSS.
How many people entered and sustained employment so far?
A total of 5,133 people joining have started a job - on average taking three months to do so after joining FSS.
Of the 5,133 people who started jobs, 2,808 of those had sustained employment for at least 3 months (13 weeks), 1,620 were employed for at least 6 months (26 weeks) and 509 were employed for at least 12 months (52 weeks).
The average length of time taken to sustain employment for 3 months after joining FSS is currently around 6 months, 9 months to reach a 6 month job outcome, and 15 months to reach a 12 month 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 a person’s journey with FSS.
Figure 4 shows the proportion of all people who have achieved 3, 6, and 12 months of sustained employment. Recent quarters show lower rates because people have had less time to achieve job outcomes. Figure 4 illustrates that it is too early to determine the proportion of people who will gain or sustain employment for the majority of people joining FSS.
Whilst we can’t yet report a stable outcome rate for all people who started FSS, 3 and 6 month outcomes for people who joined FSS in the first quarter are nearly complete. Most of these people did not enter sustained employment: 32% started a job, 22% sustained employment for 3 months, and 17% sustained employment for 6 months.
However, in quarter one, most people who started a job did sustain it: 69% of people starting jobs went on to sustain employment for 3 months, and 77% of the people who sustained employment for 3 months went on to sustain employment for 6 months.
Figure 4: 3 month, 6 month and 1 year job outcomes, as a percentage of those who started FSS, by start quarter
1. Proportions are not shown for the most recent quarter as people have not had time to reach a sustained job outcome.
What do we know about the people who joined FSS and those who achieved job outcomes so far?
From the Scottish Government’s evaluation of year 1 of FSS, we know that compared to the unemployed population of Scotland, there is a higher proportion of men and a lower proportion of women in FSS. There is also a lower proportion of people from a minority ethnic background, a higher proportion of older people, a lower proportion of younger people, and a higher proportion of people with a disability in FSS. Not all unemployed people are eligible for FSS – the eligibility criteria and early entry groups are included in the annex of the evaluation.
Gender and age
- More men (64%; 12,187) than women (36%; 6,780) joined FSS. The proportions of each gender sustaining employment for 3, 6, and 12 months is similar to the proportion joining.
- There are differences between the age profile of people joining FSS and sustaining employment. Compared to the age profile of people joining FSS there are
Figure 5: Percentage of females by age joining FSS, and that sustain employment for 3, 6, and 12 months, to end of December 2019
Figure 6: Percentage of males by age joining FSS, and that sustain employment for 3, 6, and 12 months, to end of December 2019
Health and disability
- 66% of those joining FSS reported having a long-term health condition. The most common long-term health condition reported was mental health (39% of all long-term health conditions; Figure 7). 54% of people reported having one health condition, with 14% reporting two or more (Figure 8). Job outcomes by number and type of long-term health condition can be found in the accompanying Excel tables.
- 77% of people joining FSS who reported a long-term health condition were either ‘limited a lot’ or ‘limited a little’ in their ability to carry out day-to-day activities as a result. This means that 51% of everyone joining FSS (9,637 out of 19,003) reported being disabled by their long-term health condition.
- There are slight differences between the profile of people joining FSS and those sustaining employment in terms of health and disability. Considering the health and disability status of people joining FSS (see Figure 9) there is:
- a higher proportion of people sustaining employment for 3, 6, and 12 months among those with no long-term health condition and
- a lower proportion of people sustaining employment for 3, 6, and 12 months among those with a health condition that limits daily activities ‘a lot’.
Figure 7: Long-term health conditions reported by those joining FSS, to end of December 2019
Figure 8: Number of long-term health conditions reported by those joining FSS, to end of December 2019
Figure 9: Percentage of people with Long-Term Health Conditions (LTHC) and by extent of limitation among those joining FSS and that sustain employment for 3, 6, and 12 months
Minority ethnic groups
- 5% of people joining FSS reported being from minority ethnic groups. Among all people sustaining employment for 3, 6, and 12 months, a similar percentage (4-5%) come from minority ethnic groups.
- The gender balance of minority ethnic people in FSS is different to people with a white ethnic background: 45% of people in minority ethnic groups joining FSS were women and 55% were men, compared to 35% and 65% respectively of white people joining FSS (Figure 10).
- The age groups with the highest proportion of people in minority ethnic groups are 25 to 34 (7%) and 35 to 49 (6%). The age group with the lowest proportion is 50 plus (3%).
Figure 10: Ethnic group and gender of those joining FSS, to end of December 2019
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