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Careers Service Briefing No 13
Careers Service Briefing


On 11 January 2001, Wendy Alexander, Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning announced changes to the structure of the careers service. An additional £24m was allocated for a new national all-age Careers Service: Careers Scotland to be set up under Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE). This briefing outlines the current proposals.


In October 1999 a review of the careers service in Scotland was announced to examine the whole role of the careers service in the light of changing trends in education, lifelong learning and the labour market. The committee, chaired by Barbara Duffner, reported in September 2000 and the Executive's statement is their response to the Duffner Report.


The Duffner Report praised the excellent work currently being carried out by the various strands of the current service, with a high degree of professionalism being shown by staff. However, it did show the service, as

  • Too cluttered with different providers (often up to 4 agencies operating in one area)
  • Too inflexible to meet the changing world of work. Often seen as lacking
  • up to date information
  • Lacking national strategy, leading to inconsistencies in delivery and content
  • Too narrowly focussed. Needing to encompass wider groups of people than school leavers, to tie in with the Life Long Learning culture; often seen as too tied into business needs.

They therefore recommended that any new service should concentrate on:

  • Careers Education
  • Careers Guidance
  • Enterprise Education
  • Education/Industry Links

and be impartial, comprehensive, client-centred, confidential, all-age and coherent.

executive recommendations

National Strategy

Careers Scotland to be created under the auspices of SE and HIE to provide a national and local service via their Enterprise Networks. This service will undertake the jobs of Careers Service Companies, Adult Guidance Networks, Education Business Partnerships and Local Learning Partnerships.

Ministerial Joint Venture Groups (Boards) will be set up within both Scottish Enterprise and HIE comprising of representatives of the four current providers, together with all key stakeholders including Local Authority and Education representatives. This Group would set the overall strategy, national standards and outcomes as well as monitoring progress and performance.

The creation of this national body will mean the end of private company status and the return of the service to the public sector.

Local Partnerships

At local level there will be a single organisation, working in alignment with the Enterprise Networks. Local areas will be coterminous with the LECs but receive their strategy and funding from Careers Scotland. Local boards would include current providers and local learning agencies, plus the HE and FE sectors.

Reducing the Clutter

The current 80 organisations will be reduced to 22 – replacing all of the current bodies. This one-stop-shop will create a more easily accessible service for clients to use.

National Standards

The function of the service will be expanded to create an all-age service, with national standards and national service guarantees. Impartiality will be safeguarded because all stakeholders, particularly education interests, will have a stronger voice.

Transitional Arrangements

Since the current Careers Service Company contracts are due to end on 31 March 2001, negotiations are currently underway to extend these to 31 March 2002. It is hoped to transfer functions, funding and all appropriate and relevant staff to Careers Scotland at that date, when it will assume responsibility for delivering careers guidance.



From 1 April 2002 all staff who wish to transfer will become public sector employees of either SE or HIE. The Executive intends to expand the service and anticipates increased staffing levels, with no redundancies at present, although they do accept that major restructuring exercises such as this could involve changes through time. Staff not wishing to transfer will have to agree continued employment with their current employer. However, as functions and funding will have transferred to Careers Scotland, local organisations are unlikely to maintain current staffing levels.

Pay and Conditions

All staff who transfer will do so on their current terms and conditions, although in the longer term the Enterprise Networks will wish to harmonise conditions with their

own staff. All staff will be employees of the Enterprise Networks and will eventually be subject to their system of annual pay review.


SE and HIE have contributory pension schemes and it is anticipated that transferred employees will be covered by these schemes.


Initially the Executive does not anticipate relocation, although in the longer term changes could occur. They believe that the new organisation will provide greater career opportunities and staff may wish to move voluntarily because of this.


UNISON will be consulted on all aspects of transfer to the new bodies.

Transition Arrangements

Transition Teams will consider and oversee aspects of the new organisation, such as the staffing structure, pension arrangements, etc.

the next stage

Scottish Executive

The Executive's proposals are out for consultation to a wide variety of organisations, including UNISON, and they require comments by Friday, 9 March 2001. The Education & Lifelong Learning Committee will also discuss the proposals at an early date.

UNISON Scotland

The Scottish Local Government Service Group has circulated the relevant documents to branches, seeking comments and is holding a delegate meeting at 1.30 on 5th March in Unison House, West Campbell Street, Glasgow to agree a response to the Executive's proposals


Be aware of developments in your local area, consult the members concerned and contribute to the UNISON response.

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