Third Sector Employability Forum statement on Fair Start Scotland contract awards

Third Sector Employability Forum statement on Fair Start Scotland contract awards


Third Sector Employability Forum has consistently maintained that the success of Fair Start Scotland will hinge on the robust and diverse involvement of third sector employability providers.


TSEF welcomes that two of the nine contract packages have been won outright by third sector organisations, the Wise Group and Momentum, and that it will be a third sector organisation that will lead the lot reserved for delivery by supported businesses. TSEF also welcomes the involvement of the sector in the Start Scotland Joint Venture through The Lennox Partnership, and recognises that this embeds third sector values in both management and delivery of contracts.


Third Sector employability providers have delivered consistently high performance in precursor programmes, demonstrate strong links to local communities and engender high levels of trust in the people using employability services. There is considerable strength in the delivery of holistic end-to-end services as well as the provision of specialist services.


It is very disappointing that the procurement process chosen by Scottish Government has chosen private sector involvement, in some cases with little or no track record of local delivery, ahead of the home grown partnerships and consortia proposed by many of our members. TSEF view this choice ahead of indigenous collaborative approaches as a missed opportunity, and one which threatens the sustainability of the sector. It also falls well short of what was expected from a programme that was promised to be distinctly different from what has gone before.


TSEF now ask Scottish Government to ensure that third sector providers feature strongly in the supply chains of all the contract package areas. The announcement highlights third sector presence in supply chains without detailing the proportion delivered by the sector, and in the case of the local authority led bid does not list any third sector involvement.


TSEF also call for Scottish Government to review their procurement procedure to establish how Scottish providers and partnerships could have been better facilitated and nurtured to deliver Fair Start Scotland.


You can share your experience of Fair Start Scotland and provide feedback for our review through and be sure to register for our wider forum on 23rd November.


The Scottish Government announcement can be found here



Alastair Cameron