Fairer employment support
The Scottish Government
The Scottish Government has kicked off a public discussion on how future employability services should work after devolution in 2017.
In less than two years, new powers to provide employment support for the disabled and those at risk of long term unemployment, including the current Work Programme and Work Choice services, will be devolved to Scotland.
The views of individuals, their families and communities on the kind of services they need to help them find and retain work will be essential, with the views of key stakeholder bodies such as trades unions and the business community also being sought.
A series of public meetings led by a variety of bodies will be arranged with the consultation being overseen by an advisory group chaired by Professor Alan McGregor from the University of Glasgow. Membership will also include representatives from business, training providers and the third sector.
The paper was launched by Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham at the Careers Studio in Cupar ahead of the Scottish Cabinet’s nearby meeting. She said:
“As part of the work of the Smith Commission and now through the process of the Scotland Bill, the Scottish Government continues to make the case for full devolution of job creating powers and all the main levers we believe are needed to tackle inequality and reduce poverty.
“However, there are some very welcome new powers on their way in April 2017, and we want to implement these powers in a way which complements existing devolved services and creates a distinctive Scottish approach.
“But to design these powers and ask questions later would not be the right approach. We want to hear views from across the country, from service users, communities, businesses, training providers and the trades unions. Thoughts on how we best tackle some of the existing challenges that people face, such as delivering in rural areas, access to services, IT facilities and travel will be particularly valuable throughout this process.
“The Work Programme as it stands is not fit for a modern Scotland but there may be aspects of the current system that do work for individuals and organisations and we want to hear those views too. Professor Alan McGregor and members of the advisory group will play a key role in drawing in views from all areas of the country in as many sectors as possible.
“This is an incredible opportunity to shape our future employment services to the needs of Scots jobseekers and the wider economy and we will consult widely in the coming months on how we can use these powers to best effect, building on the appetite for engagement and dialogue amongst civic Scotland.”
Professor McGregor added:
“Devolution of employment support programmes presents a great challenge, but provides a fantastic opportunity in Scotland to design and build employability support fit for Scotland and fit for all unemployed people including those who are often excluded and under-represented in the labour market.
“Scotland has an excellent foundation of partnership working on which to build. I look forward to working with the Scottish Government and the Advisory Group members to progress this critical agenda.”