Welcome by Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Employability and Training
I am delighted to issue this special edition of the Employability in Scotland e-bulletin to update you on the development of new employment support services in Scotland.
The recently issued February edition provided an update on the final preparations for delivery of the 2017 transitional employment support services – Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland. Implementation of these Services is a significant step towards delivering the fully devolved programme of employment support from April 2018. I appreciate the contribution that many of you have made in sharing your views and expertise through our 2015 consultation and other events over the past 18 months.
Progress on developing and delivering the 2018 service is continuing at pace. The Scottish Government is ambitious in its aim to provide an employment support service that will focus on helping people with disabilities and those most disadvantaged in the labour market move into and sustain fair work. We want to deliver a service that is flexible, tailored and responsive to the needs of individuals while supporting Scottish Government ambitions for sustainable economic growth, social justice, inclusion and fair work.
As we move even further towards delivery of this approach, retaining our focus on partnership, consultation and engagement remains a priority.
I believe that our focus on participation extends beyond organisations or sectors and seeks to involve and listen to the views of people that use services. This approach goes to the very heart of what we want our 2018 service to be – one that is person-centered and treats people with dignity and respect. By harnessing what we heard through the customer insight workshops last year and through inclusive testing of options by people with experience of using services, we have now chosen a name and brand for the 2018 service. I am delighted to share with you that Fair Start Scotland will be Scotland’s employment support service from April 2018.
I am also delighted to announce that today, the Scottish Government has published a Contract Notice on the Public Contracts Scotland website, inviting organisations that wish to bid to deliver Fair Start Scotland to develop their proposals in line with the requirements set out.
As advised in the February e-bulletin, Tenderers Briefing Meetings for Fair Start Scotland have been scheduled for later in March. In recognition of what I’ve heard from many of you regarding the importance of ensuring sufficient time is available to fully consider the formal tender requirements prior to participating and developing your bids, I have asked my officials to change the timing to week commencing 27 March.
Full details on how to register to attend the meetings will be set out in the Contract Notice, however you may wish to note the altered dates for your diary:
Perth - Wednesday 29 March
West Contract Area - Thursday 30 March
I am determined we continue to work together to deliver the employment support services people and employers in Scotland need. The Scottish Government welcomes your questions and feedback and these meetings offer you an opportunity to share your thoughts. Please do take this opportunity to ask as many questions as you need to - the more difficult the better, as this will help us to collectively deliver the successful service that we all want to see and that people in Scotland deserve.
Finally, I’d like to thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge and expertise, and for continuing to share your case studies and examples of good practice. I recognise that this is absolutely essential if we are to make the most of the opportunities we have to deliver a fairer, more prosperous country and to make a real difference in supporting people to achieve their potential.
Jamie Hepburn, MSP
Minister for Employability and Training