Scotland's Devolved Employment Services: statistical summary February 2020

Statistics to the end of December 2019 cover the first twenty one months of Fair Start Scotland (FSS), which launched in April 2018, and the first eighteen months of the Health and Work Support Pilot (H&WS), which launched in June 2018.

This document is part of a collection

Background Information

1. Experimental Statistics

Experimental statistics are a type of official statistics that are undergoing development. They are defined in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics as: 'new official statistics undergoing evaluation that are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in their development as a means to build in quality at an early stage'.

2a. 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 (31 December 2019). 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.

Health & Work Support Pilot. The pilot was launched on 26 June 2018 and is scheduled to run for 2 years. This publication reports on referrals and enrolments from the first quarter (26 June to 30 September 2018) to the end of the most recent quarter (1 October to 31 December 2019). The numbers of people accessing light touch support is low, so these are reported every six months rather than quarterly, to reduce disclosure risk.

2b. Reporting differences

The age groupings and classifications used for reporting health conditions in this publication for the Health & Work Support pilot differ slightly from those used for Fair Start Scotland. This is because different organisations deliver and manage the services.

3. Fair Start Scotland (FSS) background information

Data sources

The Scottish Employability Tracking System (SETS)

SETS is the Scottish Government referrals tracking system for Fair Start Scotland. Information on those referred (‘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 15 January 2020.

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 collected via a combination of face-to-face interviews and SG equalities monitoring forms, 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 31 December 2019.



The referral numbers published in this release are net figures, which excludes 816 rejected referrals. The vast majority of these were duplicates.


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 in December 2019, 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.

Early leavers

An early leaver is someone who exits the service before the end of the pre-employment support period without achieving an 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 individual’s first recorded job only. The number of job starts is therefore equal to the number of people who had entered employment. All figures are up to 31 December 2019.

Employment outcomes

A 3 month (13 week) job outcome is achieved when a participant stays in work, or is self-employed, working 16 hours per week or more, for at least 13 consecutive weeks; that is, a job which lasts at least 13 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:

  • 1,911 participants answered the second question on extent of limitation (37 yes, a lot; 204 yes, a little; 1,670 not at all). These responses were excluded from the totals.
  • 248 people reported one or more long-term health condition (281 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.

4. Health & Work Support Pilot background information

Data sources

Data for the case management service is recorded on Syntax, a system run by Salus (NHS Lanarkshire). Referrals and enrolment information is collected via a web-based referral form or by a call handler provided by Salus. All information is self-reported by the client.



Referrals are made either by people themselves or an external organisation (e.g. GPs, Jobcentre Plus or employers). This is completed before employment status, health condition or eligibility has been determined. All referrals are counted, even if they are not eligible or the user does not wish to continue. The pilot accepts referrals as eligible if they come from anyone with ill-health and/or a disability, living or working in Dundee City or Fife, who are either:

  • Recently unemployed (up to 6 months)
  • Working but at risk of unemployment (so for example, the participant could be off-sick from work (absent from work).

An enrolment (where the participant joins the service) is recorded when a participant has spoken to a call handler to determine their eligibility and collect basic information about their situation, including equalities information. The client is enrolled into the case management services provided by NHS staff in either Dundee City or Fife.

Health conditions

The health status of a client is recorded by the case manager during the clinical assessment performed by NHS staff in the local teams. All health conditions for those enrolled into the case management service and who have had an assessment should be recorded, but sometimes they may not be. Health conditions are self-reported by the client to the case manager, who then records it using pre-decided commonly occuring categories (e.g. Mental health – depression). It’s important to note that the health conditions reported for the pilot are collected in a different way to the health conditions reported in FSS.

Correspondence and enquiries

For enquiries about this publication, please contact:

Robert Cook
Office of the Chief Economic Adviser - Economic Strategy, Employability Statistics

For general enquiries about Scottish Government statistics, please contact:

Office of the Chief Statistician
Telephone 0131 244 0442

Complaints and suggestions

If you are not satisfied with our service, or have any comments or suggestions, please write to the Chief Statistician, GR, St. Andrews House, EH1 3DG; telephone 0131 244 0302; e-mail

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