The employability system in Scotland has been undergoing a transformation, since the 2016 when the publication ‘A New Future for Employability Support in Scotland’ was published on 29th March 2016. The No One Left Behind Strategic Document which outlined the need for a better aligned and integrated employability support system was published on 27th March 2018. Fair Start Scotland the first devolved employment service commenced on 3rd April 2018, with the award of nine contracts lasting up to five years.
In November 2018 a Review of Employability support in Scotland was published and outlined a three phased approach to implementing an all age, person centred, needs led approach to change including a move to increased local governance of resources. In December 2018 Scottish and Local Government signed a ‘No One Left Behind Partnership Agreement to support the shared ambition of transformational change in Scotland’s employability support system.
In April 2019 Phase 1 of No One Left Behind was implemented when Activity Agreements and the Scottish Employer Recruitment Incentive ceased as national programmes and this investment was available to Local Authorities to develop alternative approaches with partners to meet local needs. In March 2020 Covid 19 had a significant impact on the joint programme of work and the response to the consequences of Covid 19 on the economy and service delivery disrupted the initial programme of work delaying the pace of change. National and local responses to the health and economic impacts also lead to unplanned activities as efforts were temporarily diverted and new ways of working were embedded alongside new and additional measures to deal with the disproportionate impact on individuals and communities. The implementation of Phase 2 transferring national investment in Employability Fund and Community Jobs Scotland to local governance arrangements initially scheduled for April 2021 was delayed. The Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work on 5th October 2021 confirmed further implementation of No One Left Behind from April 2022, with the ceasing of two national programmes Community Jobs Scotland and Employability Fund, investment will be transferred to No One Left Behind.
A refreshed and updated Joint Delivery Plan was published in November 2020 to reflect the additional challenges in the labour market and provided a sharper focus to the Workstream deliverables and the critical path which would enable the work programme to get back on track. In addition the Young Person's Guarantee was established and the employability delivery element was through the already established approach to No One Left Behind. To assist with the local governance arrangements a Local Employability Partnership Framework was developed to provide national coherence and local flexibility to assist with the Strengthening of Local Partnerships. 32 Local Employability Partnership Self Assessments were undertaken to help increase the effectiveness and functionality and readiness to implement Phase 2 of No One Left Behind and a National Overview of Local Partnership Self Assessments was published assisting the creation of 32 Local Improvement Action Plans supporting the place based approach and improving local co-production, co-commissioning and stakeholder engagement.
To support the effective design and delivery of person centred, needs led approaches the Local Employability Partnerships (LEPs) are supporting the implementation of the Scottish Approach to Service Design and actively helping to develop national frameworks such a customer charter and minimum service standards which support local flexibilities.
No One Left Behind – Policy to Practice
There are 7 key principles for the transformation of Scotland’s employability services in working towards creating a better person centred system:
- Treating people with Dignity and respect, fairness and equality and continuous improvement
- Providing a flexible and person-centred support – aspirations for all age, needs based
- Is straightforward for people to navigate – no wrong door
- Integrated and aligned with other services – building on the Scottish Approach to service design with the user at the centre
- Providing pathways into sustainable and fair work
- Driven by evidence including data and the experience of users
- Support more people to move into the right job, at the right time
No One Left Behind aims to support those facing structural inequalities in the labour market. In order to deliver the principles, plans must ensure connectivity with other local services and policy priorities aligned to the National Performance Framework (See Annex 3). Key policy drivers which connect with the ambitions and delivery priorities of No One Left Behind include:
- Tackling Child Poverty
- Addressing the Gender Pay Gap
- Closing the Disability Employment Gap
- Addressing Race Employment Gap
- Promoting and Embedding Fair Work
- Delivering the Young Person’s Guarantee
- Delivering on The Promise
- Supporting Community Wealth Building
- Supporting Public Sector Reform
- Supporting Place Based Approaches