OFP Operational Guidelines May 2020

opportunities fife partnership

Operational Guidelines

 Version 5:  May 2020




The Opportunities Fife Partnership (OFP) is responsible for delivering part of the Plan 4 Fife’s “Inclusive Growth and Jobs” priority theme.  It is a strategic, decision making partnership reporting directly to the Fife Partnership.

These guidelines set out the aims and objectives of the Partnership, the procedures under which it will operate and the roles and responsibilities of members of the Partnership.

2.0       Date of commencement

The Opportunities Fife Partnership commenced on the date of its inaugural meeting on 12th June 2013.

3.0       Purpose

3.1       Mission

The overall mission of the OFP is:

“Influence and drive innovative approaches to skills and employability services that reflect the current and future needs of individuals & employers.”

3.2       Remit

The OFP remit is to:

  • Develop, implement and monitor the skills and employability delivery plan for Fife
  • Develop labour market driven approaches to address the needs of all client groups, with specific focus on:
    • Increasing employment opportunities for young people (16- 24)
    • Increasing access to employment for people with health and disability issues
    • Unemployed adults (25+) and those facing multiple barriers to employment, including literacy, numeracy, skills and digital exclusion.
  • Ensure that maximum investment is secured in Fife from external funding streams for employability activities through collaborative approaches across the partners
  • Set the strategic direction for funding expenditure for three years ahead, ensuring that funding distribution is demand led and meets the strategic objectives for skills and employability
  • Ensure that all skills and employability activities are focused in the appropriate geographical areas of Fife to address the social justice agenda
  • Co-ordinate and allocate all national and local skills and employability funding streams across the partnership
  • Measure and manage the employability and skills performance across the partnership’s activities
  • Engage in activities which are outward looking, ensuring that Fife participates fully within a Scottish, UK and international context. Lobby on behalf of Fife to Influence policy development at the Scottish and UK levels.

3.3       Strategic Outcomes

The OFP’s strategy (2019-22) identifies five key strategic outcomes:

Outcome 1:           Increased employment opportunities for Fife Residents

Outcome 2:           More people with employability issues in secure, healthy, paid employment

Outcome 3:           Fife’s youth employment rate exceeds the Scottish average

Outcome 4:           Fife has a better qualified workforce with relevant skills for work

Outcome 5:           Fife’s key sectors are better supported in terms of skills and employment

4.0       Membership

4.1       Membership Structure

The OFP membership structure comprises of:

  • Chair
  • Skills Development Scotland (2 member)
  • Fife College (2 members)
  • DWP (1 member)
  • NHS (2 members):
    • Director of Public Health
    • Representative of Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Private sector (2 members)
    • Chair of Developing Young Workforce Board
    • Chamber of Commerce
  • Voluntary sector (1 member)
  • Fife Council (4 members)
    • Fife Council Elected Member
    • Business and Employability
    • Communities and Neighbourhoods
    • Education and Children’s Services
  • Chair of Adult Delivery Group (1 member)
  • Chair of Youth Delivery Group (1 member)
  • Chair of Health and Disability Delivery Group (1 member)
  • Chair of Employer Engagement Delivery Group (1 member)

4.2       Chairing the Partnership

Responsibility for the appointment of the Chair and Vice-Chair rests with members of OFP. The Chair’s responsibilities include chairing Partnership meetings, representing the OFP at local and national events and acting as a spokesperson for the OFP. The Vice-Chair’s responsibilities, in deputising for the Chair as required, fully reflect those of the Chair.

The positions of Chair and Vice-Chair will be held for a period of five years, with the option of a further three years.  The Chair will not serve more than two terms consecutively.

The current Chair of the Partnership is Gordon MacDougall, Head of Operations, North East Scotland, Skills Development Scotland.

Position of Vice-chair is currently vacant.

4.3       Attendance

Opportunities Fife Partners are required to attend at least three Partnership meetings per year.  It is accepted that from time to time members may not be able to attend a meeting. In such a case each partner should have a named deputy to attend to ensure continuity of representation and sustain high levels of attendance. Any deputes must be fully briefed for the meeting and be able to speak on behalf of their organisation.

It is the responsibility for those attending Partnership meetings to feedback to relevant people within their own organisations, particularly if there is an action to take forward.

Where attendance at meetings becomes an issue, especially at delivery groups, the Chair of that group is encouraged to report that back to the OFP Executive Group so that the OFP Chair can take the matter up with the relevant Partner organisation


5.1       Meetings

The full OFP meets four times per year, once every quarter. A minimum of five representatives are required to constitute a meeting (quorum). Meetings will be hosted on a rotational basis by partners where possible.

Meetings will be structured around high-level strategic updates on the agreed priorities for skills and employability and agendas will be formatted to structure discussion to agree and capture action points.

When forward planning, the Partners will look at thematic approaches to upcoming agenda items in line with the time of year. For example when SLDR figures are due to be released.  This way additional invitees can attend relevant meetings, such as University, Developing Young Workforce, Fife Economy Partnership or Private Sector representatives depending on the theme or a specific topic.

The agenda for meetings will be set by the Chair in conjunction with the Executive Group.

It is the intention that all items of business will be reached by consensus, however where this cannot be achieved, agreement will be decided by a simple majority of votes of the members present by a show of hands. Each member will have one vote and in the event of a tied vote the Chair will have a casting vote. The OFP may invite observers including guest speakers to specific meetings although these individuals will have no voting rights.

It has been recognised that the agenda for the OFP can be busy with a lot of papers.  Where possible, papers that require decisions/approvals will be highlighted for members attention, while others papers that are included for “information only” will be marked separately.

Prior to the OFP and the OFP Executive meetings, a call will go out to Partners to request/propose agenda items, to ensure a fair representation of all Partners’ priorities.

A forward planning item will be introduced at each meeting, so future agendas can be planned in advance.

5.2       Executive Group

The OFP is supported by an Executive Group, which meets a further four times per year.  Two additional Executive Group meetings (April and September) are booked in advance, in case meetings are required out-with the regular schedule but may be cancelled if these meetings are not required.

The role of the Executive Group is to drive forward the Partnership and its activities in discharging the remit for the OFP as outlined above. The Executive Group comprises of membership from; Fife College, Skills Development Scotland, DWP and Fife Council. 

In the interest of separating strategic policy and funding decisions, the OFP Executive Group will have responsibility for the approval of employability pathway funding decisions. This ensures the separation of decisions making from those who are potentially bidding for delivery activity.    

5.3       Delivery Groups

Currently there are four Delivery Groups which drive activity on behalf of the OFP.  Facilitators are appointed within each delivery group to co-ordinate and drive the activities of the delivery groups. The Facilitators are responsible for providing quarterly performance monitoring reports to the OFP and the OFP Executive Group.  Each delivery group will present progress to the OFP quarterly, on a rotational basis for performance monitoring and scrutiny purposes. For each of the delivery groups, the key client focus, national outcome linkages and members are outlined below:

5.4       Task and Finish Groups

Short life “task and finish” groups will be established where appropriate and the formation of these will be determined in line with the delivery plan.  

5.5       Secretariat

Secretariat support for the OFP and the Executive Group will be provided by Fife Council, including the arrangement of OFP meetings, preparation of agenda, minutes and reports. The agenda for meetings will be circulated one week prior to meetings and minutes circulated two weeks following meetings. Email is the preferred method of communication.  The papers from each OFP meeting will be made available to the public and will be posted on the Opportunities Fife website: www.opportunitiesfife.org.

5.6       Funding

The OFP will be responsible for the allocation of all national and local skills and employability funding streams to support the work of the partnership. Funding streams include although are not exclusive to: OFP’s own budget (formerly Fairer Scotland Fund), ESF, any DWP Discretionary Funds, SDS Employability Fund and National Training Programmes.  The OFP Executive Group are remitted the lead on the assessment of proposals and commissioning of employability projects.

A new framework for skills and employability related OFP budget (formerly Fairer Scotland Fund) has been developed and an employability pathway of delivery activity was commissioned in 2018.  This will be the final phase of European Funding a delivery has been commissioned up to March 2022, subject to ongoing performance and monitoring and annual contract review.

Where the OFP or OFP Executive Group is taking decisions on funding allocations, the representatives of the Council services, agencies or organisations bidding for funding would not be in attendance during these discussions and decision-making processes.

The implications of Brexit on ESIF funding will be taken into consideration during the period to March 2022 and decisions will be made on funding programmes beyond 2022, when there is more clarity surrounding future replacement funds, such as the proposed “shared prosperity fund”.

5.7       Communications Plan

The OFP will adopt and implement a communications plan to ensure that key messages are delivered both internally and externally and to provide a platform for lobbying purposes.


Members of the OFP may be given access to information and documents that are not fully in the public domain and members should respect the confidentiality requirements of the OFP or of individual Partners.

Any Freedom of Information requests received about the OFP will be directed through the appropriate channels within Fife Council, and, where appropriate within other Partner organisations, in order to meet the requirements of the Act.

Data about members of the OFP (email addresses and telephone numbers) will be held by Fife Council in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and only used for OFP purposes, not passed to a third party and destroyed when the member leaves the OFP or if the OFP ceases to exist.


A risks register will be used to assess and manage the risks associated with the OFP’s activities.  Fife Council will be responsible for maintaining this register.

Partner organisations are responsible for assessing the risks to their individual organisations of participating in the OFP.


Performance reporting and monitoring will be supported by Fife Council, with the OFP and Executive Group receiving statistical updates and monitoring reports at each meeting. 

The OFP will develop a dashboard of key outcomes/performance indicators that are relevant to the partners, linked to our obligations in the Plan 4 Fife that can highlight the health of Fife employability.  This may include one indicator for/from each key partner.  For example: SDS (participation measure), Fife College (retention rates), DWP (UC claimants) etc.

An annual outcome delivery report based on performance will be submitted by the Council to the Fife Partnership on behalf of the OFP.

The OFP will establish a clearer understanding of how and when we report to the Fife Partnership and will refine the detail of what we are reporting so that it can be simple and relevant.

Further work is needed as to how we bring in the customer voice / voice of lived experience into the discussion on future delivery.

The Partnership structure will be reviewed every three years to ensure that it remains ‘fit-for-purpose’.


The OFP will remain in place as long as it is fulfilling its role and remit. The decision to close or re-form the OFP will be taken by the Fife Partnership and Fife Council.

Operational Guidelines Version:

Date Approved:

Version 1

12 June 2013

Version 2

23 January 2014

Version 3

20 September 2016

Version 4

21 May 2019

Version 5

13 May 2020


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