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Developing Employment Support 2018

 Fair Start Scotland  

From April 2018 the new Fair Start Scotland service will aim to help at least 38,000 people to find employment, including those facing barriers to entering the labour market.

The key focus for the service will be tailored and personalised support for all those who participate. Key elements of the service are:

  • Participation will be entirely voluntary;
  • 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;
  • The service will offer pre-work support of 12-18 months;
  • The service will offer high quality in-work support for 12 months;
  • Those who require specialist support to help them find work can expect to receive it;
  • There will be national standards to ensure everyone is supported consistently across the 9 geographic contract areas across Scotland;
  • For disabled customers who require intensive support, Supported Employment and Individual Placement and Support will be available.

On 4 October 2017 the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn MSP, announced the award of Contracts up to £96m to deliver Fair Start Scotland, with more than half of provision delivered by supported businesses and by third sector and public sector bodies in Scotland, in 9 Contract Areas across Scotland, as below:

Contract area Local authority Successful Bidder Delivery Partners/Sub Contracted Estimated Value (up to £ million)
1 - Glasgow Glasgow

People Plus Group Ltd (Private)

  • Remploy (Supported Business)
  • Momentum (Third Sector)
  • The Lennox Partnership (Third Sector)
2 - Lanarkshire

N Lanarkshire

S Lanarkshire

Remploy Limited (Supported Business)

  • ENABLE Scotland (Third Sector)
  • Routes to Work South (Third Sector)
3 - Tayside


Dundee City

Perth and Kinross

Remploy Limited (Supported Business)

  • Rathbone (Third Sector)
  • The Wise Group (Third Sector)
4 - Forth Valley




Falkirk Council (Public Sector)

  • Falkirk Council (Public Sector)
  • Clackmannanshire Council (Public Sector)
  • Stirling Council (Public Sector)
  • NHS Forth Valley (Public Sector)
5 - East

City of Edinburgh

East Lothian


Scottish Borders

West Lothian


Start Scotland Limited

(Private and Third Sector Partnership)

  • Momentum (Third Sector)
  • Triage (Private)
  • Working Links (Private)
6 - Southwest

North Ayrshire

South Ayrshire

East Ayrshire

Dumfries and Galloway

Start Scotland Limited (Private and Third Sector Partnership)

  • Working Links (Private)
  • Rathbone (Third Sector)
  • The Lennox Partnership (Third Sector)
  • The Wise Group (Third Sector)
7 - Northeast

Aberdeen City


Momentum Scotland (Third Sector)

  • Life Skills Centres Limited (Private)
  • ENABLE Scotland (Third Sector)
  • Aberdeen Foyer (Third Sector)
  • Scottish Association for Mental Health (Third Sector)
  • Enterprise Mentoring Ltd (Private)
8 - Highlands and Islands

Argyll and Bute

Eilean Siar



Orkney Islands

Shetland Islands

People Plus Ltd (Private)

  • Argyll and Bute Council (Public Sector)
  • Life Skills Centres Ltd (Private)
  • Lochaber Hope (Third Sector)
  • Momentum Scotland (Third Sector)
  • Third Sector Hebrides (Third Sector)
  • 2020 Clearview Ltd (Private)
9 - West

E Renfrewshire


E Dunbartonshire

W Dunbartonshire



The Wise Group (Third Sector)

  • Scottish Association for Mental Health (Third Sector)
  • The Lennox Partnership (Third Sector)
  • Working Links (Private)
  • ENABLE Scotland (Third Sector)
  • Royal National Institute for the Blind (Third Sector)


2018 Reserved Contract Area

In February 2017, Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn MSP, announced that in procuring for Fair Start Scotland, one service delivery area would be reserved for supported businesses. This decision is in line with Regulation 21 of the Public Contracts Scotland Regulations (2015).

The Minister also announced that the area to be reserved will be the West delivery area which encompasses East and West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire.

In determining the most suitable area, Scottish Ministers have taken account of the current geographical footprint of supported businesses, and the views of stakeholders and supported businesses themselves. It was important to select an area large enough to test this model of delivery while supporting procurement of the 2018 service more broadly.

The Scottish Government held  a Tenderers Briefing event with supported businesses in the reserved area in March 2017 following the publication of the Invitation To Tender for Fair Start Scotland also in March 2017.

It was announced on 4 October 2017 that the contract was awarded to The Wise Group to deliver Fair Start Scotland in West Contract Area. 

Please see our 2018 Reserved Contract Area FAQ for further information.

Supplier Engagements

The Scottish Government is committed to keeping consultation, engagement and partnership working at the forefront of our approach to developing devolved employment support services.

Involving those who use and those who deliver employment support has been a constant driver as we work to reshape employment support services in Scotland.

Supplier Engagement events for Fair Start Scotland started with an event in Glasgow on Monday 28 November 2016. This was the first of 4 - with the other three taking place in Inverness on 29 November, Edinburgh on 1 December and a supplementary event in Glasgow on 9 December 2016.

These events enabled feedback from organisations on additional support or information that would assist potential suppliers wishing to be involved in the 2018 employment programme. They also provided the opportunity for attendees to network with potential delivery partners and offered scope for learning to potentially help shape requirements prior to the start of the formal advertising and competitive tendering process for Fair Start Scotland. A range of information on the events is available below:

Following on from the Supplier Engagement events and the issue of the Invitation to Tender, briefing events were hosted which provided an opportunity for potential tenderers to further understand the requirements of Fair Start Scotland. The events were held approximately 2 weeks after the ITT was published,  29th March in Perth and  30th March in the West Contract Area. The timescale gave potential bidders time to digest the documentation and it further allowed  an opportunity for attendees to network with potential delivery partners. Further information can be found below: