From Open Government Pioneer Project
Context[edit | edit source]
Government interventions in skills and employability are out of date and out of touch with the modern economy and completely ill-suited to meeting the needs of people who need help and support to get and keep a job.
Part of the problem with the current approach is the payment models for employability which favour very large contracts and 'pipeline' based models for supporting people. This informs the way services are procured, and the approach taken by competitive tenders for employability support. It also works against empowering people to design and direct their own support (self-directed support).
Another part of the problem is its focus almost exclusively on commissioning support for people. Another approach would be to invest in community support. This could include investing in helping people connect with their peers for mutual support and expand their social networks. Examples could include care and repair, the men’s shed movement, community cafés and playgroups. It also includes support for digital spaces.
There is a danger that the Scottish approach to new powers over employability such as Fair Start Scotland so far are simply replicating all the problems and barriers of the previous UK Government led models.
Case study of Fair Start Scotland[edit | edit source]
The implementation of Fair Start, in particular, has not been consistent with the words and signals of intent of Scottish Government. Government originally promised something different from the UK Work Programme that would be person centred, with the third sector playing a large role. A major consultation was done which included the sector. The feedback from the consultation was for better alignment with social policy, and to build something longer term in it’s engagement which empowered providers to be innovative and person centred. They also talked of the need to build strong partnerships and collaborations to address the complexity of people's needs, with an expectation that 'prime contractors' would facilitate a larger group of specialist providers to provide tailored support around the individual.
Neither of these things have happened and this can all be linked back to the way the Fair Start tender itself was structured, and how out of kilter this was with the consultation that went before it. It appears that civil servants (some of which seconded from DWP who worked on the Work Programme) and procurement officers were allowed to write an extremely detailed, prescriptive tender, which specified a huge amount of detail on what they expected prime contractors to do (for example, it stipulates precisely how much weekly contact face to face is required for each participant). The prescriptive nature of this means they effectively removed any opportunity for providers to build a person centred approach – they effectively told providers what the component parts of the service needed to look like. Unfortunately this looks like it led to a race to the bottom with providers putting together a prescriptively similar service and therefore mainly competing on price, limiting the opportunities for innovation and person-centred approaches.
Analysis[edit | edit source]
This is a review of developments and solutions from a third sector perspective (updated Nov 2018)
|Themes||Key developments||Interested parties||Policy solutions|
|Procurement and commissioning of employability support||
||Scotgov employability division
Skills Development Scotland
Third sector employability forum
|Reframe Fair start Scotland as a transitional programme.
We need a new payment model:
|Governance of employability support system||
||Third sector employability forum
|Deep re-design of employability required, covering:
||Social enterprise support bodies,
Community Jobs Scotland,
Skills Development Scotland,
SCVO, CCPS on MAs, and Alliance contracting
|Supporting collaborative commissioning
|Third Sector capacity||From Sector perspective, we need more third sector engagement, but recognition that this requires capacity support for the sector.
Capacity for policy development - led by SCVO and Scottish Government Third Sector Unit
Capacity for service delivery involves support - led by the Third Sector Employability Forum nationally, and Third sector Interfaces locally
Cross-cutting approach should be framed by by National Performance Framework (and Sus. Dev Goals) to ensure linkages across third sector areas of work
|Third Sector Interfaces and SCVO
Scotgov Third Sector Unit
|UK Shared Prosperity Fund||UK Consultation period Dec 2018-Feb 2019 (expected)
UK position fairly well established, and any influence from Scottish civil society may be limited
Third sector views tend to focus on improving the way the European grants are managed.
Expected difference of views across UK home nations' third sector support bodies. (See SCVO's developing analysis and proposals for Scotland)
Scottish Government ESIF
UK sector umbrella bodies