Item 07 - No One Left Behind 2022-23
3rd March, 2022.
Agenda Item No. 7
No One Left Behind 2022-23 Commissioning
Report by: Gordon Mole, Head of Business and Employability Services
Wards Affected: All Fife
The report provides an update from the Opportunities Fife Partnership and sets out Fife’s approach to delivering employability services under the Scottish Government’s No One Left Behind (NOLB) framework. The report asks Committee to approve the recommendations made by the NOLB scoring panel and the Opportunities Fife Partnership Executive for the delivery of activity from 2022-25.
Committee is asked to:
(i) approve the recommended allocations to the preferred bidders for the delivery of NOLB activity for adults, young people, families and those requiring specialist support as set out in Appendix One to this report, subject to confirmation of funding from Scottish Government;
(ii) delegate to the Head of Business and Employability Services, in consultation with the Head of Finance and Head of Legal and Democratic Services, to complete all necessary contracting arrangements for delivery of the No One Left Behind Fife programme from 1st April, 2022;
(iii) delegate to the Head of Business and Employability Services, in consultation with the Opportunities Fife Partnership Executive, to amend funding levels to projects based on project performance and available resources, including such additional funding as may be made available from Scottish Government in year through No One Left Behind;
(iv) note the consultation undertaken with service users, delivery organisations and the Opportunities Fife Partnership in the co-design of the refreshed Commissioning Framework for NOLB activity in Fife; and
(v) note the No One Left Behind Fife Commissioning Framework for employability services for the period 2022-2025 as set out in Appendix Two to this report.
The full Scottish Government No One Left Behind allocation for each local authority area, it is reported, will be confirmed by end of March 2022. That timescale was also the intention for the 2021-2022 allocation, however, budgets were not confirmed until September and October 2021. To ensure a continuity of service for clients, the OFP intend to commission activity that will commence on 1st April 2022. For this reason, recommendations are to commission activity within the estimated allocation, with scope to scale up once budgets are confirmed.
All funding allocated by Scottish Government is given as a total commitment over the life of the No One Left Behind programme. These funding allocations are reviewed and agreed yearly and may be subject to change. No contractual agreements exist at this stage between Fife Council and the Scottish Government beyond March 2022.
Commissioning of activity is for the period 2022-23, but with the option of additional years of delivery on a plus 1 (for 2023-2024), plus 1 (for 2024-2025) continuation basis for projects that are meeting all performance management and reporting requirements. Funding allocations for beyond 2023 would be subject to approval by committee and dependant on available budget. The projected programme costs are set out in the refreshed NOLB Commissioning Framework 2022-25 (Appendix 2 - Section 7.4). The report seeks approval of £2.58m for the commissioning of NOLB activity detailed in Appendix 1 to this report.
The NOLB allocation will be supplemented with £130,000 from Fife Council’s existing core Employability funding, which and will facilitate additional activity from the NOLB core budget.
Legal & Risk Implications
There are no legal implications associated with this report. All awards are recommended for support subject to compliance with Fife Council’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework which requires that they are reviewed on an annual basis as part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to ensuring organisations are meeting the terms of their Service Level Agreement. The terms and conditions of funding for Parental Employability Support Fund, Young Person’s Guarantee and No One Left Behind have been agreed in 2020-2021 with Legal Services and Finance and are not anticipated to change for future years delivery.
Funding is subject to confirmation from Scottish Government for the period 2022-2023 (notwithstanding any carry-forward arrangements). Indicative allocations for Fife Council in 2022-2023 are as follows, based on 2021-2022 allocations:
- No One Left Behind - £480,274
- Young Person’s Guarantee - £3,551,095
- Parental Employability Support Fund - £406,000
- The above will be matched to £130,000 of Fife Council core Employability funding from existing service budgets.
The total of these estimated budgets is approximately £4.5m. The commissioning process has allocated approximately £2.58m at this time. This will provide scope for activity to be scaled up, once budgets are confirmed. The remainder of the expected allocation is retained by Fife Council to provide infrastructure support for all NOLB delivery partners, and a programme of Employer Recruitment Incentives (ERI) for young people entering employment, matched to the Fife Jobs Contract.
No impact assessment is required. The No One Left Behind Fife delivery model has been developed using a Human Rights Based approach to ensure that delivery is inclusive of all groups with protected characteristics and those at greater disadvantage in the labour market. The challenge fund framework was developed in line with the Scottish Approach to Service Design and in line with Scottish Government strategy on Halving the Disability Employment Gap, Reducing the Gender Pay gap, Reducing the Race Pay Gap, and Tackling Child Poverty.
The Fairer Scotland Duty, which came into force on 1 April 2018, requires the Council to consider how it can reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage when making strategic decisions. Both the Plan for Fife and Fife’s Economic Strategy align with this Duty in their commitment to working towards achieving inclusive growth and economic growth, which is shared by all. The grants provided by Fife Council, as detailed in this report, provide specific support to reduce inequalities and support inclusive growth in Fife.
The Head of Finance and Head of Legal and Democratic Services have been consulted in the development of this report.
The Opportunities Fife Partnership, as the local employability partnership and oversight body for No One Left Behind Fife agreed the recommendations set out for delivery activity at its Executive Meeting of 25 January 2022.
1.1 Funding for 2021-2022 was based on allocation assumptions from 2020-2021 across the three funds of: Young Person’s Guarantee, Parental Employability Support Fund and No One Left Behind. These allocations were not confirmed by Scottish Government until September 2021 (for Young Person’s Guarantee), October 2021 (for Parental Employability Support Fund) and November 2021 (for the new Long Term Unemployed element). This meant that activity commissioned in April 2021, following the OFP’s original challenge fund was delivering against estimated budgets and was unable to scale up activity to meet the demands of the higher budget allocation, in the time left available.
1.2 The NOLB Commissioning Framework (Appendix Two – Section 7.4) outlines the projected budget parameters for each of the activity strands; Adult, Young People and Specialist (which includes family specific projects). The total budget outlined is between £3.2m and £4.5m. The reason for this wide budget envelope was due to uncertainty at the time of publication, regarding the projected budget allocation for 2022/2023 and an agreement between Scottish Government and COSLA that underspend from 2021/2022, which had occurred due to the lateness of the budget confirmation last year, could be carried over to supplement this year’s activity.
2.0 NOLB Challenge Fund Framework Process
2.1 In April 2020, a No One Left Behind Oversight and Scrutiny Group, formed of representatives of strategic organisations drawn from the Opportunities Fife Partnership; including DWP, Skills Development Scotland, Fife Council, Fife College, Fife Voluntary Action and NHS Fife was established to direct NOLB activity in Fife. This group developed the framework of support for those with barriers to accessing and sustaining employment, which formed the basis for our first commissioning for activity in 2021. This framework was refreshed in October 2021 ahead of the second round of commissioning in 2022.
2.2 In order to scope the extent and reach of delivery, the voice of lived experience has been key in developing new provision in Fife, therefore involving people who use services, frontline staff and employers in service planning, design and delivery is crucial to developing services which are responsive and relevant. This included targeted efforts to engage with people affected under the Equalities Act (Scotland) 2010. This is in line with the Scottish Human Rights PANEL principles of: Participation, Accountability, Non-Discrimination, Engagement and Legality.
2.3 Over 120 individuals and organisations participated in collaborative conversations to inform the areas of focus for the commissioning framework, supported by relevant Council services. This included people with disabilities, community organisations, drug and alcohol dependency service users, those with experience of the criminal justice system, members of Fife’s LGBTQ+ community and those drawn from each of the seven local Area Committee areas. This was supplemented in the design of the NOLB commissioning framework by available data on these equalities factors and alignment with the Plan 4 Fife.
2.4 The process that was followed in 2020 for the first year of commissioned activity was subject to an independent evaluation by PHIRST (Public Health Intervention Responsive Studies Team), to ensure the process was robust, transparent and focussed on targeting provision where it was needed most. The recommendations from the report, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on delivery and through feedback from the delivery partner network helped to review and refresh the NOLB Commissioning Framework for 2022-25. Greater clarity on budgets and a multi-year approach were two of the major issues raised when refreshing the framework, which led to the one year, plus one, plus one option to enable the OFP to extend activity that is performing well. This multi-year approach is subject to confirmation in each financial year of funding being available.
2.5 The final version of the refreshed NOLB Commissioning Framework was approved by the Opportunities Fife Partnership Executive in October 2021 and potential delivery organisations invited to register for the application process by 24 November 2021.
Forty-three organisations registered an expression of interest through the Public Information Notice on Public Contracts Scotland website and were sent an application pack. The deadline for applications to be submitted was 17 December 2021. All bidding organisations were able to ask questions on the framework and application documentation and were offered support as needed through Fife Voluntary Action.
2.6 Applications were assessed by a panel consisting of representatives from DWP, Skills Development Scotland, Fife Council (Communities & Neighbourhoods), the NOLB Project Co-ordinator and two representatives of the voice of lived experience. The panel was facilitated by the Opportunities Fife Partnership Manager. A sub-panel of those with lived experience were asked to consider and respond to two questions on the application – the project outline and co-production and ability to delivery NOLB Fife principles. This sub-panel fed scored and moderated comments into the main panel via two representatives.
2.7 Unsuccessful bidders have received feedback on their applications and will also be offered a development session with Fife Voluntary Action on their application, to support them with applications for funding in future.
2.8 The scoring panel recommended the approval of 10 projects to form the No One Left Behind Programme – two projects for adult delivery; four projects supporting young people; two projects supporting families and two pieces of specialist provision, one for health and disabilities and one supporting migrants, as set out in Appendix One to this report. The total value of these projects will be £2.58m. The projects will be supported by a NOLB Fife Infrastructure programme including ongoing staff training and development, marketing, equalities monitoring and evaluation.
2.9 Funding allocated to the NOLB Challenge Framework will be for one year, in line with Scottish Government funding, but with the opportunity for the OFP and NOLB Oversight and Scrutiny Group to recommend extending provision that is performing well for a maximum further two years. Each year budgets and project targets will be reviewed and approved by the OFP and reported to Policy and Co-ordination Committee for noting.
2.10 The Scoring Panel also recommended that a number of proposals be kept on a reserve list, for possible further consideration, once the budget allocation has been confirmed by Scottish Government.
2.11 The NOLB Commissioning Framework also includes reference to a Test of Change element, for shorter-term, limited numbers activity, possibly focused on employer/industry specific training, or to test a concept ahead of developing a larger project. Applications for Test of Change were also submitted on 17 December 2021. Due to the shorter-term nature of this activity, the OFP Executive decided to concentrate on commissioning the longer-term activity at this time and would progress the Test of Change Applications once the budget had been confirmed and it was clear what allocation would be available to fund these shorter-term interventions. Those who submitted a Test of Change Application have been contacted to advise them of this timeline. Test of Change projects will be delivered in year with variable commencement dates.
3.0 Delivery Arrangements
3.1 Delivery of the new No One Left Behind projects will commence on 01 April 2022. Payment to delivery partners will be made on a quarterly basis dependant on sufficient compliance through monitoring and performance checks.
3.2 Projects will operate across Fife, with a focus on Mid Fife delivery as a targeted area of need. Delivery partners have arrangements for both physical and digital delivery in place to enable hybrid delivery to continue in response to the changing conditions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions. All organisations recommended for approval of funding have a highlighted how they were able to adapt their provision to provide services to clients and employers even during the pandemic when restrictions were at their strictest.
3.3 Projects will be co-ordinated through the Opportunities Fife Partnership team, who will be responsible for the monitoring and management of the programme, including Quarterly reporting against each funding stream to Scottish Government. The No One Left Behind Co-ordinator will continue to support co-ordination and delivery of the programme and Fife Voluntary Action through their existing service level agreement will provide support to the delivery organisations as well as strategic advice to the programme. Fife Centre for Equalities will provide specialist expertise on equalities monitoring and engagement.
3.4 The NOLB Oversight and Scrutiny Group are responsible for the monitoring and scrutiny of the projects performance and the co-design of commissioning for activity in future years. This group reports to the Opportunities Fife Partnership and is chaired by the Council’s Head of Business and Employability. A NOLB Fife Delivery Group has been formed with existing delivery partners, promoting co-ordination between projects and effective information sharing. This group is led by the NOLB Co-ordinator and will be updated to include new delivery partners from April 2022.
3.5 The scrutiny of NOLB Fife delivery within Fife Council will be undertaken by way of regular reports on project progress to the Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning and Transportation Sub-Committee. In 2021/2022, additional reports were provided to the Environment, Finance and Communities and Education and Children’s Services, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committees.
3.6 The programme is supported by a NOLB Fife Infrastructure programme of marketing, staff training and development, evaluation, capture of good practice and use of the FORT database technology platform for outcome and equalities monitoring. These costs are included within the commissioning framework allocations, as set out in Appendix 1.
3.7 Community Wealth Building is increasingly recognised by Scottish Government in employability delivery and the challenge framework includes commitments to delivering fair and inclusive growth to communities furthest from the labour market to enable successful gaining of skills for employment, helping to increase ambition and reduce poverty in these communities. The NOLB Fife programme forms part of the Council and Fife Partnership’s agreed Leading Economic Recovery action plan and the aims of the Council’s Community Wealth Building reform programme for Fair Work, as set out in the adopted CLES Action Plan.
4.1 The delivery approach selected through the No One Left Behind Fife Commissioning process represents a targeted and innovative approach to delivery of outcomes for young people, families and adults with multiple barriers to employment, or who require in work skills for continues employment.
4.2 The programme will deliver outcomes across Fife, with a particular emphasis on delivery in areas of greatest disadvantage. The approved delivery partners represent both continuity of services that were commissioned in 2021-2022; but also the inclusion of additional projects that will provide greater choice and address gaps that had been previously identified. With particular regard to supporting adults with health and disability issues, migrants and isolated young people who did not sustain a positive destination when leaving school.
4.3 The recommended projects will inform delivery of future years of activity, in line with the key principles set out by Scottish Government for the national No One Left Behind programme delivery.
List of Appendices
- Summary of the approved preferred bidders for NOLB 2022-2023 project delivery.
- No One Left Behind Commissioning Framework 2022-25
The following papers were relied on in the preparation of this report in terms of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1973:
- Scottish Government NOLB Strategy, December 2018
- Scottish Government NOLB Delivery Plan, December 2020
Head of Business and Employability
Fife House, North Street, Glenrothes
Telephone: 03451 55 55 55 ext: 446540 - Email – email@example.com
Opportunities Fife Partnership Manager
Business & Employability
Fife House, North Street, Glenrothes
Telephone: 03451 55 55 55 ext: 440327 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org