Following the release of the Scottish Government’s ‘Fair Start Scotland’, ‘Work First Scotland’ & ‘Work Able Scotland’ statistics publication, the fifth publication in a series about the devolved Scottish employability services, SCVO’s Chief Executive Anna Fowlie responded today:

“It is difficult to draw too many conclusions from these early figures. The numbers are interesting, but tell us nothing yet about people’s experiences or outcomes.


“It is significant that a third of participants have a mental health condition, and two thirds have a long term health condition. Yet the contractual arrangements that exist offer no provision for additional and specific support.


“We know that every person’s journey to employment is different. Everyone has different needs that need to be met if they are to achieve the outcomes we are looking for, which must be long term and sustainable. That degree of personalisation requires a comprehensive assessment of each individual’s needs and a response from services that wraps around those needs if they are to overcome the barriers they face to meaningful employment.


“We know that the third sector delivers great support and Ministers have clearly stated that the third sector will play a critical role in delivering Fair Start Scotland. To understand better how this is working, we would have liked to have a seen a breakdown of the number of referrals and services commissioned by the prime contractors from third sector organisations, especially to specialised providers of support for mental and physical health conditions.


“As Fair Start Scotland develops, we have an opportunity to use its ambitions as the basis to reconfigure the employability landscape in Scotland for the longer term. We must better align across Scottish Government’s various policy agendas to achieve the right outcomes for the people who need it the most; we can only do that through collaboration across ministerial portfolios and across the public, third and private sectors.”