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People Group



  • Ruth Cooper (Renfrewshire)

Deputy Chairpersons

  • Susie Donkin (Improvement Service)
  • John Davidson (Dundee)
  • Ewen Allardyce (Aberdeenshire)
  • Lynne Burgess (Dumfries & Galloway)
  • Laura Neill (North Ayrshire)
  • Sarah McCulley (Falkirk)
  • Lindsey Johnson (Orkney Islands)
  • Paul Kane (North Lanarkshire)

  1. To link the work of Scotland’s 32 Local Authorities and bring a collective influence to bear at a national level ensuring a well-articulated Local Government perspective on employability and related issues.
  2. To represent Local Government in the Partnership Agreement with Scottish Government to help shape a better aligned and coherent employability system.
  3. To share knowledge, experience and best practice in relation to Scottish local authorities’ involvement in employability and skills development.
  4. To debate and agree SLAED’s policy and approach to current and emerging issues, engaging COSLA and others as appropriate; enabling a strong voice on behalf of local authorities and providing a clear mandate for any representatives to speak on behalf of SLAED on issues related to employability and skills.
  5. To provide a forum for members to raise any issues or questions within a closed and supportive network, offering a shared approach to problem-solving.
  6. To identify and tackle common employability and economic development related issues ensure that Scottish Local Government works collaboratively to improve outcomes.

The SLAED People Group works with Scottish Government to take forward a work programme which meets employability policy statement developed by COSLA, SLAED and SOLACE as part of the Partnership Working Agreement and Joint Action Plan.  The statement recognised that job creation, sustainable and quality employment are critical to the overall wellbeing of our communities supporting better outcomes providing a route out of poverty, inequality and disadvantage. There are therefore many touch points around the Fairer Scotland, Child Poverty and Equalities duties. The programme of work will therefore focus on:

  1. Future of Scotland’s Employability Services – To ensure that SLAED effectively contributes both directly and via COSLA to Scottish Government plans for the future of Scotland’s employment support services and programmes.. SLAED will present and protect Local Government’s interests in the re-shaping of existing employability programmes and approaches via the No One Left Behind Action Plan as appropriate ensuring at all times  connectivity and alignment with local employability pipelines and approaches. SLAED will also work with UK Government/DWP to further the interests of local government in reserved employability matters again advocating for alignment and connectivity where appropriate.
  2. Local Employability Partnership Development - SLAED members tend to be the lead officers for LEPs as well as being the accountable person for LEP funding. Support around LEP agendas, governance, membership, funding, capacity, development are regular discussion points for the group.
  3. National Training Programmes/Support – Through the Agreed Partnership Framework effectively influence the design, delivery and management of any Scottish Government Funded employability support interventions.
  4. Inclusive Growth – To effectively contribute to national and local polices and programmes to ensure adequate cognisance of diversity, equality and disadvantage as been assessed and included as part of City Deal/Growth Deal investment Plans and Projects around economic exclusion and labour market participation.
  5. Child Poverty Action Plan – To ensure appropriate connectivity of national programmes with Local Child Poverty Action Plans in the execution of the duties to support parents into work and to progress in work dealing with some of the route causes of poverty which affect income earning capacity.
  6. Disability Employment Action Plan – To actively ensure that national and local employability support measures work coherently to close the disability employment gap including activities such as Project SEARCH, Supported Employment and ensuring appropriate connectivity with Access to Work and any other national UK or Scottish Government initiatives.
  7. Integration and Alignment – To promote effective horizontal and vertical alignment nationally and locally to ensure improved effectiveness and outcomes. A special focus will be on Health, Housing and Criminal Justice as per No One Left Behind.
  8. UK Shared Prosperity Fund (People and Skills) - To support all areas in Scotland with operational or strategic issues around the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
  9. Community Benefits in Procurement – To work with public, third and private sector partners to take forward the opportunities presented by the Procurement Reform Act 2014 and capitalise on the findings and recommendations of the Economic Outcomes Programme.
  10. Performance and Benchmarking – To contribute to the ongoing work relating to the Local Government Benchmarking Framework, SLAED Performance Outcomes Framework and related activity across the employability.
  11. Welfare Reform - Working with DWP, COSLA, Scottish Government and Third Sector to ensure that local government’s interests in the employability and skills agenda for those in receipt of working age benefits is effectively connected. The claimant commitment, conditionality, local support services and the roll out of Universal Credit are all of relevance to the local government’s involvement in employability.