Scotland's Devolved Employment Services: statistical summary November 2020

This publication presents statistics up to the end of September 2020 covering the first two and a half years of Fair Start Scotland (FSS)

This document is part of a collection


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 September 2020. The Scottish Government launched FSS on 3 April 2018 with the aim to support 38,000 people to find sustained employment over a three year referral period.

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 can be found here.

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. 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 from March 2020 onwards when the COVID-19 pandemic, associated public health measures, and economic and labour market impacts, have caused several changes which impact the statistics published here. This includes 

1) the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refocused their work to deal with the increased demand for benefit claims, so FSS referrals from DWP were paused until June 2020. Since then, the DWP have restarted referring people to FSS, but referrals remain at a lower level than they were before March 2020.

2) As a result of this, there has been an increase in referrals to FSS through other avenues, particularly from FSS providers' own marketing efforts.

3) FSS 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 who join FSS disclosing information on protected characteristics like ethnicity.

4) There was a relaxation of rules specifying how often participants must be in contact with providers, from March to September 2020. This meant that some people who would otherwise be considered to have left the service during this period stayed on FSS.

5) There have been fewer job vacancies, making it harder for participants to start jobs and achieve job outcomes.



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