Fair Start Scotland - FAQ
Q. What is Fair Start Scotland?
A) Fair Start Scotland is Scotland's first fully devolved
employment support service. It aims to support a minimum of 38,000
people, including those further removed from the labour market who
want help to find and stay in work.
Fair start Scotland delivers delivers one of the first powers to
be devolved under the 2016 Scotland Act, providing flexible and
tailored support that is responsive to the needs of unemployed
people and businesses across Scotland. It is an opportunity to
deliver a Scottish approach to employment support that is more
flexible, and responsive to a changing labour market, tackling
labour market inequalities and growing Scotland's economy by
helping more people into work.
Q. What makes Fair Start Scotland (FSS)
A) Fair Start Scotland (FSS) is entirely voluntary for people to
participate, which means that people can choose to take part
without fear of benefit sanctions if they are not able to
.. Fairness, dignity and respect between provider and
participant is at the heart of the service.
Fair Start Scotland:
- Has been developed by listening to the views of people who rely
on employment support.
- Is funded by the Scottish Government
- Is delivered in 9 areas across Scotland, reflecting the reality
of Scotland's geography, regional economies and population
- 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
- Includes an offer of supported employment - an internationally
recognised 'place and train' model enabling disabled people
to learn on the job with support from colleagues and a job
coach. Individual Placement and Support will be available for
those with severe and enduring mental health
- It creates opportunity for supported businesses. The 'West' Lot
was reserved exclusively for supported businesses - the highest
value supported business contract awarded so far by Scottish
Ministers (up to £8.8M over 2018 - 2021).
Q. When does FSS commence?
A) Fair Start Scotland commences on 3 April 2018 and delivers
one of the first powers
to be devolved under the 2016 Scotland Act.
Q. Who is delivering Fair Start Scotland?
A) The Minister for Employability and Training awarded contracts
in October 2017 to providers and delivery partners who will deliver
Fair Start Scotland. This recognised the strengths a mixed economy
of third, private and public sector partners to deliver better
outcomes for unemployed people in Scotland. There are nine Contract
Areas and further details of these can found
Q. What was the rationale for the 9 Contract
A) The nine Contract Areas reflect Scotland's geography, labour
market and local economy areas, and existing delivery boundaries.
It was determined following substantial stakeholder
engagement, both through the 2015' consultation 'Creating a Fairer
Scotland: Employability Support' and a number of supplier
engagement events in late 2016. During this engagement we presented
and tested proposals and options on the local delivery of devolved
We sought to:
- Build on feedback from the market testing events at the end of
2016 which helped to inform our preferred option;
- Ensure the Contract Areas were of sufficient scale that they
will be commercially attractive and support efficient and effective
delivery, while reflecting Scotland's geographical
We will of course monitor and review the effectiveness of these
structures in relation to both performance within the devolved
service and emerging issues, such as City Deals in Scotland. We
believe the nine Contract Areas based on LA boundaries create a
strong foundation for delivery from 2018 and developing our
approach in future.
Q. How will you attract people to a voluntary
A) The voluntary nature of our services represents a distinctly
Scottish approach to employability support, and a departure from
the largely mandatory approach which has been a feature of previous
Given the participation levels in DWP's Work Choice and the Work
Programme, we know there are sufficient number of people who would
be eligible to participate in Fair Start Scotland.
We have supported the development of marketing materials
for Jobcentre Plus work coaches in Scotland to raise awareness and
stimulate referrals. We are also working closely with
Providers to ensure that they are developing a range of marketing
materials and that these are adapted for different audiences and
are made available in locations across communities. We are
also encouraging them to use their networks and media including
social media to raise awareness of the service.
Q. What are you doing to integrate Fair Start Scotland
with other services and support?
A) Fair Start Scotland providers will build and maintain working
relationships with key stakeholder organisations and groups to help
provide effective and joined up support for participants.
In addition, Fair Start Scotland will integrate with some of the
services and support referenced in the actions in the Employability
Integration and Alignment Plan published on 27 March joining up
employability provision with health, justice, and housing.
For example, the Single Health and Work Gateway will link with Fair
Start Scotland so disabled people or people with health conditions
who face barriers to work and are eligible for Fair Start Scotland
are referred to the right place. And we will collaborate with
the Scottish Prison Service to develop new routes into employment
services including Fair Start Scotland that will help support more
people with a conviction to find and sustain work.
Q. Why have you published an Employability Integration
and Alignment Plan?
A) The Plan marks for the first time what our approach is to
deliver more effective and joined-up employability support across
Scotland. Fair Start Scotland is just one of a number of levers
that will provide more effective employment support for people, and
in turn, create a fairer labour market and more inclusive
growth. Better integration and alignment of the various
employability initiatives that are on offer by the Scottish
Government, its agencies and partners and others is a vital part of
our ambition to tackle labour market inequalities and help more
people into work.
Q. What other support does the Scottish Government have in
place to help
those who cannot access devolved employability
A) Our transitional arrangements delivered over 2017/18 and Fair
Start Scotland which commences in April 2018 are only part of a
number of Scottish Government employment support offers which
operate in Scotland. That is why the integration and alignment
agenda is so important. It's important we ensure services are
properly aligned to support as many people as possible and in the
best way possible to meet their needs.
Q. What are the 'other employment support offers' which
operate in Scotland?
A) Our employability support is wide ranging - across ages,
abilities and degree of job-readiness.
- For those who are job ready, Modern Apprenticeships offer the
opportunity to earn a wage while learning skills that will be used
throughout an individual's career;
- Community Jobs Scotland (CJS) is an employability programme
aimed at supporting disadvantaged young people aged 16-29 into
employment by providing paid job training opportunities in the
Third Sector with the option of additional training specifically
designed to enhance general employability skills.
- Opportunities for All is the Scottish Government's commitment
to an offer of an appropriate place in learning, training for 16-19
year olds not already engaged in education, training or
- Activity Agreements are for 16-19 year olds assessed as
requiring additional support in order to progress to further
learning, employability skills training, a Modern Apprenticeship
- We will continue to support employers to recruit young people
who face the biggest barriers to employment, through Scotland's
Employer Recruitment Incentive (SERI).
- We also support the Employability Fund which supports young
people towards employment through a number of local training