Scotland's Devolved Employment Services: statistical summary May 2020

This publication presents statistics up to the end of March 2020; covering the first two years of Fair Start Scotland (FSS), which launched in April 2018, and the 21 months of the Health and Work Support pilot which launched in June 2018 and closed in March 2020.

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Summary findings

This publication contains statistics on Fair Start Scotland and the Health & Work Support pilot. Fair Start Scotland is an employability support service aiming to help unemployed people into sustainable employment. The Health & Work Support pilot, in Dundee City and Fife aimed to help people stay in work or go back into work.

  • In the first two years of Fair Start Scotland (FSS), 34,755 people were referred to the service, and 22,138 of those joined to receive employability support services. There was an increase in the proportions of referrals joining FSS to receive support from 48% in April to June 2018 (first quarter of FSS) to 69% in April to June 2019 (first quarter in year 2). It has remained stable[1] between 69% and 70% since that time.
  • These statistics cover the period up to 31 March 2020, eight days after the start of the 'lockdown' in Scotland (23rd March). COVID-19 has had an impact on the referral process for FSS, with key referring organisations such as the Department for Work and Pensions refocusing their work on responding to the large increase in benefit claimants. Compared to March 2019, referrals in March 2020 were 31% lower.
  • People receiving FSS support experience various and often multiple barriers to finding work. Health and disability are the most commonly reported[2]. 65% of people receiving FSS support reported a long-term health condition and 49% were disabled.
  • So far, 6,166 people started a job after joining FSS. It is too early to determine the proportion of people who sustained employment for the majority of people who are being supported by FSS. Where we can report job starts and outcome rates[3]:
  • most people who started FSS did not enter work or go on to sustain employment: 22% sustained employment for 3 months, and 17% sustained employment for 6 months
  • but most people who started work went on to sustain employment: 71% of people starting work went on to sustain employment for 3 months, and 76% of the people who sustained employment for 3 months went on to reach at least 6 months
  • job starts and sustained outcomes are lower for older age groups compared with younger age groups, and also lower for those with long-term health conditions that limit daily activities 'a lot' compared with those who have long-term health conditions that do not limit daily activities
  • 52% of people starting in the first year[4] of FSS left the service early without completing the programme of support offered or achieving a job outcome.
  • The Health & Work Support pilot closed early due to COVID-19 in mid-March. In total it received 2,683 referrals and it had 2,490 enrolments since its launch on 26 June 2018.



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