Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 8 March 2017
We will move forward our Programme for Government 2016-17 commitment on employment support by issuing an Invitation to Tender (ITT), today, to deliver a new Scottish Employability Support Service from April 2018. The aim of this Service is to provide support to disabled people and those at risk of becoming long-term unemployed to find and retain work.
We aim to support a minimum of 38,000 customers over the three year contract period, on a voluntary basis. Scottish Ministers have agreed a budget of up to £96m, and to invest an additional £20 million a year – over and above the funding that is transferred from Westminster for 2017-21.
Following extensive consultation and market testing, the Service will deliver across nine geographical Contract Areas, based on clusters of Scottish Local Authority Areas. Scottish Ministers have decided to reserve West Contract Area - East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire - for supported businesses.
This Government has been clear on its commitment to developing a Scottish approach to employability: an approach that reflects fair work and social and economic inclusion; that puts an emphasis on partnership delivery; and which treats Service users with respect. The arrangements for the 2018 Service have this approach at its heart.