Skip to main content
Bookmark and Share

FAQ - Background to Developing Scottish Employment Services

Q) When will Employment Support be devolved to Scotland?

A) From 1 April 2017 Scotland will exercise newly devolved powers on employment support through 12 month transitional arrangements, in preparation for a Scottish programme of support from 1 April 2018.

Q) What are the 2017 transitional services?

A) A two part approach will form our transitional services in 2017.

Work First Scotland (WFS), is  a 12 month contract with the current providers of Work Choice in Scotland to deliver employment support for up to 3,300 disabled people. Please see the Employment Support 2017 page for further details.

Work Able Scotland (WAS), where Skills Development Scotland will deliver a 12 month employment support service for up to 1500 people  with a disability or health condition and at risk of long term unemployment, and who want to enter work. Please see the Employment Support 2017 page for further details.

Q) Why have transitional services from 2017?

A) Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland will provide continuity of support for those who are unemployed with significant barriers to work, while building towards a Scottish programme of support from April 2018.

Q) What will the 2018 services look like?

A) Our aim remains to create a future programme that is flexible, tailored and responsive to the needs of unemployed people in Scotland through a combination of payment by service fee and when users move into a sustained job outcome.

We will deliver a service, known as Fair Start Scotland, which identifies the strengths and skills customers share alongside the levels of support they need. Our support will focus on those with high needs who may have been neglected by the current DWP approach, while supporting our ambitions for sustainable economic growth, social justice, inclusion and fair work. Please see the Employment Support 2018 page for further details.

Q) How will you achieve this?

A) We will work in partnership to deliver services that stay focused on those who need them the most. Furthermore we will also work on a long term programme of integration and alignment to join up services across Scottish Government policies and programmes - and across local authority and third sector provision.  Please look to The Ministerial Summit on Employability page as an example of our engagements.

Q) How will this be funded?

A) In December 2015, The Department for Work and Pensions indicated a budget for delivery of new devolved programmes in 2017-18 of £7m, This represents a budget cut of almost 90%. Scottish Ministers have stepped in to provide up to £20 million in additional funding, this more than triples the funding being made available, and have made a further commitment to invest £20m a year until 2021 - to ensure those who most need support get it.

Q) Can individuals be made to join the Programme and will their benefit be affected if they don't?

A) No. Research shows that sanctions often affect the most vulnerable in society, including lone parents, young people and those with a disability.

The Scottish Government believe that Scotland's devolved employment services should operate on a voluntary basis, where the DWP's benefit conditionality, and therefore, their sanctions, will not apply.  DWP have confirmed that no-one will be sanctioned for failing to attend, engage with or complete devolved employment services.  Participants may however still be subject to some conditionality - including job search requirements - over and above their attendance and this will be set out by DWP.