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No One Left Behind

No One Left Behind is our approach to transforming employment support in Scotland. It has a crucial role in achieving our vision for economic transformation and tackling child poverty; and aims to deliver a system that is more tailored and responsive to the needs of people of all ages who want help and support on their journey towards, into and in work - particularly people with health conditions, disabled people and others who are disadvantaged in the labour market.


Through the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), we have committed to continue the work to simplify the employability system through No One Left Behind to develop an all age offer of support and deliver better outcomes for those most disadvantaged in society.

Unemployment is at historically low levels but there are still many who struggle to find and keep a job. We want to have an employability system that tackles inequalities in Scotland’s labour market, creating a more responsive, joined up and aligned employability system that helps people of all age, who face the greatest barriers to progress towards, into and to sustain work.

No One Left Behind is our strategy for placing people at the centre of the design and delivery of employability services. It promotes a strengthened partnership approach where the Scottish & Local Government (Partnership Agreement for Employability) work together with public, third and private sector partners to identify local needs and make informed, evidence-based decisions, flexing these to meet emerging labour market demands.

The Scottish Government held a total of six National Discussion Events between August and November 2023. Hosted by Local Authority partners in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Ayr, the events provided approximately 300 partners from the public, third, and private sectors the opportunity to support the next phase of No One Left Behind.

The No One Left Behind National Discussion Events report summarises the discussions that took place across all six events, as well as many of the actions suggested by colleagues across the country. The feedback and ideas generated helped to inform the Scottish Government’s Strategic Plan for the future of employability, which is set to be published in Summer 2024.


We are:

  • Helping people into fair, sustainable jobs which is central to delivering many of the ambitions in Scotland around inclusive growth, tackling child poverty and public health reform.
  • Applying the No One Left Behind principles which underpin the approach: 
    • Dignity and respect, fairness and equality, and continuous improvement
    • Provides flexible and person-centred support
    • Is straightforward for people to navigate
    • Integrated and aligned with other services
    • Provides pathways into sustainable and fair work
    • Driven by evidence including data and experience of others
    • Support more people to move into the right job at the right time
  • Working to simplify the employability system for service users by moving to a local governance model for employability services that fosters that crucial join up between the key services that we know people need to access.
  • Building on the strengths of existing national and local services, to better align funding and to improve the integration of employability services with other support to ensure that services are designed and delivered around the needs and aspirations of those using our services.
  • Ensuring the approach is not about designing new programmes, but instead, reforming the system to be more adaptable and responsive to meet the needs of people and to adapt more quickly to rapidly changing labour markets.

Shared Measurement Framework

We have published the first iteration of the Shared Measurement Framework, which was a key commitment made in the 2018 Review of Employability Services. This Framework establishes a shared understanding of how we measure the impact of employability services for the people and areas they aim to support.

Scottish Government and Scottish Local Government Partnership Working Agreement for Employability

Partnership Agreement for Employability

The partnership agreement for employability signed by Scottish Ministers and COSLA leaders in December 2018, signalled a commitment to a collaborative approach between the two levels of Government in Scotland. 

Partnership Joint Updates

Scottish Government and COSLA regularly issue partnership joint updates on the work that Scottish and Local Government and partners have undertaken since the signing of the Partnership Working Agreement.

Employability Partnership Framework

Recognising the degree of variability of Local Employability Partnerships across Scotland a new framework has been developed to provide some consensus around structure and remit of employability partnerships, whilst allowing flexibility reflective of local circumstances.  The framework has been developed following joint discussions with SLAED and SCVO and aims to provide a starting point in developing enhanced local partnership working for both strategic and delivery partners. The framework has also been adopted for use in delivering elements of the Young Person's Guarantee.

Labour market statistics

Labour market statistics can be found on the website.

Bills and Legislation

The Scotland Act (2016) transferred new powers to Scotland to provide employment support for disabled people and those at risk of long term unemployment. The changes took effect in April 2017.

No One Left Behind Publications

No One Left Behind Delivery Plan Nov 2020

This publication outlines the collective approach to delivering an employability system which is flexible, joined-up and responsive.

Click to read

No One Left Behind: review of employability services Dec 2018

Steps the Scottish Government will take to develop an employability system which is flexible, joined-up and responsive.

Click to read

No One Left Behind: next steps for employability services March 2018

The plan sets out the next steps we will take to deliver more effective and joined-up employability support across Scotland.

Click to read

Monthly E-bulletin

We share the latest employability news and updates via our regular e-bulletin

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