This publication presents statistics on the number of referrals, starts and job outcomes for Fair Start Scotland, an employability support service aiming to help unemployed people into sustainable employment, up to the end of June 2020. The Scottish Government launched Fair Start Scotland on 3 April 2018 with the target to support 38,000 people to find sustained employment.
The service is designed to support people in Scotland 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 is available.
Fair Start Scotland is delivered by different providers across nine geographical areas throughout Scotland. Potential participants can engage with Fair Start Scotland in a variety of ways. A referral can be made by an individual's Jobcentre Plus (JCP) Work Coach. Alternatively, participants can be signposted to Fair Start Scotland through third party organisations or they can self-refer to their local Provider if they meet specific criteria. Third-party referrals relate to referrals from outwith JCP.
After a referral is made, the participant is matched with a Provider in their local area, the Provider makes contact and offers an introduction in which the service is fully explained, and the participant is then given the necessary information to engage with Fair Start Scotland.
How has COVID-19 impacted the delivery of Fair Start Scotland?
This publication includes data over a period (March - June 2020) when the UK and Scotland were subject to public health measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Over this period:
1) the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refocused their work to deal with the increased demand for benefit claims, so Fair Start Scotland referrals from DWP were paused. Referrals into Fair Start Scotland continued through other avenues - for example, those providing Fair Start Scotland services generated referrals through marketing efforts. Since June, the DWP have restarted referring people to Fair Start Scotland.
2) Fair Start Scotland switched from face to face interaction to delivery via phone calls and online interaction. This has had an impact on the equalities data collected, with fewer people joining Fair Start Scotland disclosing information on protected characteristics like ethnicity.