Organisations believe Scottish Government approach to employability won’t help those in need, or get the best out of the third sector.

At the Joined Up For Jobs (Ju4J’s) partnership forum meeting in Edinburgh today (Friday 26 May) SCVO will state their opposition to the approach being taken by the Scottish Government to devolved employability programmes.

While the third sector has welcomed the principles of the post-2018 programmes, many believe that they will not help those furthest from the labour market and that the operational and administrative detail will not allow charities to fully participate.

As such, SCVO say that key changes are required immediately in both policy and practice. Today SCVO Director of Public Affairs John Downie will detail the key issues that have arisen following discussions with various third sector members and Scottish Government officials on the topic, including:

  • The decision to adopt a single contract with each Contract Package Area has minimised the involvement of small and medium-sized third sector organisations
  • The time afforded to the procurement process is not sufficient for the formation of consortia and actively militates in favour of large organisations and current sub-contractors
  • The commissioning process has been overly complex and entirely inaccessible for many
  • The continued emphasis on job outcomes is not conducive to a focus on disadvantaged groups and those furthest from the labour market. Payment by results will continue to cause problems for small providers at the front of the pipeline
  • The commissioning process for Fair Start Scotland has missed an important opportunity to explore the concept of person centred services

A briefing paper has also been published by SCVO which provides an analysis of the landscape and some key recommendations for how the Scottish Government can maximise the impact of third sector involvement and ensure fair, accessible support for all individuals.

SCVO Director of Public Affairs John Downie said: “The Scottish Government has not been innovative enough to guarantee personalised support for all individuals and much of the commissioning process continues to shut-out small and medium sized charities.

“Without high-quality specialised support from third sector organisations, the Scottish Government will not be successful in their quest to focus on those furthest from the labour market. Charities of all sizes must be at the heart of these programmes.”