CAS supported the devolution of employment programmes, as it represents the opportunity to provide schemes that more effectively support long-term unemployed people into work, based on the positive employability programmes already existing in Scotland.
The largest areas of advice provided by Scotland’s CAB network relate to social
security benefits, tax credits and National Insurance, with a total of 332,298
issues in 2017/18, representing 43% of CAB caseload in Scotland.
CAB clients will typically seek advice because of issues such as accessing social security benefits, money worries, problems at work, housing issues and consumer concerns, rather than for employability support per se. Our submission therefore focuses on some of the wider considerations related to employment support, rather than details of the operation of Fair Start Scotland and its predecessors, which other organisations will be better placed to comment on.
In particular, CAS would consider it is particularly important that devolved employability programmes:
- Integrate with other policies and services to tackle some of the systemic and institutional barriers to employment
- Remain voluntary to participate in, avoiding any use of conditionality
- Align effectively with DWP approaches to employability