Third sector cut out of new employability landscape
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has expressed its strong disappointment at the lack of successful third sector organisations who have won bids in today’s Scottish Government announcement regarding the Fair Start employability programme.
The announcement appears to be completely at odds with the Scottish Government’s stated ambitions for employability support, detailed in ‘A New Future for Employability Support in Scotland.’ SCVO is concerned today’s announcement will mean these ambitions are not realised and that a near replication of the Work Programme will see 80% of the value of contracts delivered by private sector providers.
John Downie, SCVO’s Director of Public Affairs, said: “The Scottish Government promised a brave new world in their vision for employability in Scotland. Their ambitions were that the third sector would be heart and centre of the new employability landscape, but instead charities and voluntary organisations have been side-lined to make way for private companies which lack the local knowledge required.
“The reality of this new employability landscape is that it won’t deliver the best outcomes for unemployed people – particularly those who experience multiple barriers to employment, who will end up receiving a second class public service.
“It’s simply not good enough, and ignores the successful values driven approach of the third sector in providing such vital services across the country.”
SCVO has consistently advocated for a personalised, local service for people as the key to unlocking the issue of employability in Scotland.
Unfortunately many of the successful bidders have little to no infrastructure required in the areas they will serve. Third sector organisations with established connections and local expertise will ultimately be relegated to the role of sub-contractors.
This is a real missed opportunity and will fail to deliver and see those with the greatest barriers to employment neglected by private companies who will focus attention on work ready clients – providing an easier financial return in this payment-by-results model.