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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S5W-30722

  • Asked by: James Dornan, MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, Scottish National Party
  • Date lodged: 15 July 2020
  • Current status: Initiated by the Scottish Government. Answered by Jamie Hepburn on 16 July 2020


To ask the Scottish Government what progress it has made toward extending Fair Start Scotland provision following the end of the current contract period, given the importance of employability support in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.


Fair Start Scotland (FSS), Scotland’s devolved employment support service is helping people, including those who are further removed from the labour market, to find work and stay in work. Following an open and competitive procurement process, contracts were awarded in October 2017 to a mixed economy of suppliers from public, third and private sectors to deliver the service across Scotland. Fair Start Scotland was launched in April 2018 for initial contract period to 31 March 2021.

Today I have announced the extension of the current Fair Start Scotland service for a further two years, in accordance with the commercial options available to me in the original contracts, allowing more people to join the service up to 31 March 2023.

This two year FSS extension period is an opportunity to provide stability and continuity as we respond to the current Covid-19 crisis and move into our economic restart and recovery phases.

We know that the vulnerable, and those furthest from the labour market suffer most in times of recession, and we must do all we can to continue delivering the support they need to progress towards and into work.

The extension of the current Provider contracts and delivery model provides a strong foundation from which to respond to a rapidly changing labour market, as well as delivering on our ‘test and learn’ approach to employability support, and allows us to work with our partners in local government and the third sector towards longer term local integration within No One Left Behind.