Supporting employers and individuals facing redundancy
ICAS is a partner in the Scottish Government’s initiative – Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE), established to provide support to people facing redundancy and employers considering making redundancies. Steven Wood reports on the recent six-monthly partnership meeting.
A majority of partners attended the meeting, including representatives from ICAS, Skills Development Scotland, HMRC, Scottish Enterprise, Citizens Advice Scotland and the Department of Work and Pensions, all of whom provide local level support.
There were an estimated 26,000 compulsory redundancies in Scotland in 2018/19. Of these, around half received information from PACE on redundancy support services.
From April 2018 to March 2019 in-depth support, via workshops and one-to-one meetings, was provided to 3,038 individuals. This represents a 13% increase from the previous year.
In-depth support was provided to 304 employers across 453 sites. This represents an increase of 30% on the number of employers supported during the previous year. As expected, given the series of well documented and high profile high street failures, the wholesale and retail sector accounted for a significant proportion (almost 37%) of the redundancy support provided.
The gap between the number of redundancies and the number of individuals receiving support demonstrates that a significant number of individuals face redundancy with little support. A theme continued from previous meetings is that PACE is reaching the larger scale firms where 20+ redundancies are being made, however smaller businesses facing financial difficulties are less aware of the support available.
The partnership meeting heard from Martin Taulbut, NHS Health Scotland, who presented on the link between employment and health. There is significant research which demonstrates a positive relationship between good employment and health, and conversely bad employment and health. In recent years, while the number of workless households has decreased, the number of adults facing physical and mental health issues has shown no improvement.
At the same time, poverty levels in the UK have not improved or have even worsened. Shockingly, it is predicted that within the next two years, one in three children in Scotland shall be living in poverty, despite unemployment rates being at an almost record low.
Whilst GDPR and the restrictions on processing employee data may preclude insolvency practitioners from passing individuals’ details directly to PACE unless the employee has specifically consented, insolvency practitioners are encouraged to alert employees facing redundancy to the support available from PACE.
All ICAS members advising clients who may be considering redundancies as an early intervention step to avoiding financial difficulties should consider contacting PACE to discuss support for their clients. All communication is on a strictly confidential basis.
Further information is available on the PACE website.