Scotland - Fair Start
Person-centred support including the offer of in-work support for the employer and their new employee
Who did it?
Scotland's devolved employment support service contracted third, private and public sector partners to deliver the scheme. The scheme was developed in consultation with delivery partners, employability providers and the Scottish public.
Where are we drawing the evidence from?
Information sourced from:
- Employability in Scotland website (2023)
- The Scottish Government report (2021), Fair Start Scotland Evaluation Report 4: Overview of Year 3
What kind of support was it?
12-18 months of tailored, flexible, and person-centred pre-employment support to people who want help to find and stay in fair and sustainable work.
The service also works with employers to help with recruitment and support for the employer and their new employee by offering up to 12 months in-work support.
Where did it run?
Throughout Scotland (divided into 9 areas)
When did it run?
Launched 2018 as a 3-year programme. Extension of delivery with the current contractors up to 31 March 2023
Who did it serve?
There is a wide range of people who are eligible for the programme from day 1 of unemployment. 50+ jobseekers are not included as a target group, although some might be eligible for other reasons such as a health condition which is a barrier to work, or disability. However, after 12 months of unemployment the scheme is open to all.
What were its key features?
- Participation is entirely voluntary, which means that people can choose to take part without fear of benefit sanctions. Fairness, dignity and respect between provider and participant is at the heart of the service
- Encourages Service Providers to commit to the Fair Work, Workforce and Community Benefits agendas (for example by promoting living wage employment, no use of zero hours contracts or umbrella companies and supporting the Scottish Business Pledge)
- All participants can expect to receive in-depth action planning to ensure the support they receive is tailored for them and suits their individual needs and circumstances. Interventions include regular contact with a dedicated employability advisor; help with job search and applications; access to work tasters, work experience or apprenticeship opportunities; support with managing health conditions, finances or debt or overcoming addiction
- The service offers pre-work support of 12-18 months
- The service offers in-work support for up to 12 months - an internationally recognised 'place and train' model which enables disabled people to learn on the job with support from colleagues and a job coach. Individual Placement and Support is available for those with severe and enduring mental health problems
- There are national standards to ensure everyone receives a consistent quality of support
What were its outcomes?
Taken from the Year 3 Report
- Older people were included in the number of under-represented cohorts on the programme. Compared with the overall unemployed population in Scotland, Y3 of FSS had a lower proportion of people aged 50-64 (i.e., their participation decreased over the 3 years)
- The Y3 survey found that those aged 50 or more were more likely than participants overall to say that they did not want to return to work (5% compared with 2% overall). Those with no formal qualifications were also more likely not to want to return to work than participants overall (7% compared with 2% overall)
- Only 44% (of those aged 50 years or older who were surveyed) said that their motivation increased (either 'a lot' or 'a little') due to FSS. Those with a limiting health condition were less likely to report an increase in motivation (42% reported no change or a decreased effect on motivation) compared to those with a non-limiting or no health conditions (27% and 31% reported no change or a decreased effect on motivation respectively)
- In terms of barriers to work, participants aged 50 years or older were more likely to have a physical health condition or disability that made it difficult to carry out tasks at work (13% compared with 7% overall)
- Some interviewees felt that their age was a barrier and that being an older candidate was a disadvantage in the job market
- Research suggests that certain groups including people aged 50+ continue to be underrepresented in the service despite some improvements being made. There continues to be variance in job outcome rates for people with more significant barriers including those with disabilities, older workers and individuals who meet early entry criteria