Scottish Government Fair Start Programme

We are delighted to announce publication of our research findings from the third wave of a longitudinal study for the Scottish Government, evaluating their Fair Start Scotland (FSS) programme. FSS is an employment support programme for disabled people, and people at risk of long-term unemployment.

About the research

The objective of the research was to understand participants’ experience of the FSS programme, and also the outcomes that they achieved over time in terms of health, employment, and general life skills. We carried out 1,000 telephone interviews with participants, in three annual cohorts.

Research findings

Overall satisfaction with the support received from FSS has remained consistently high across all three survey waves, on a number of indicators. For example, 95% of the 2020 cohort felt they were treated with dignity and respect and 84% were offered support to improve their general quality of life and wellbeing

At the time of the survey, 36% of the latest (2020) cohort were in work. Of those not working (or working less than 16 hours per week), the vast majority wanted to return to work (94%) and six in ten (60%) reported that their motivation to work had increased since receiving FSS support.

The Covid epidemic has had far-reaching economic consequences, including for individuals seeking work. Findings suggest that FSS supported participants well through the pandemic. However, while over a third of participants (35%) reported that the pandemic posed a barrier to finding work, nearly half of these participants (48%) reported that the support they received from FSS helped them to overcome this.

The publication is live

The publication of all the findings, including the economic evaluation and local area case studies are available on the Scottish Government website.

Can we help?

If you are evaluating the impact of your employment support programmes at a local, regional, or national level, please get in touch with our team of experienced researchers.