Memorandum submitted by One Plus (CP 16)
The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee
has announced an inquiry "to examine the extent of child
poverty in the UK and the effectiveness of the Government's strategy
to eradicate it".
This submission from One Plus: One Parent Families
is a response to some of these issues which are of relevance to
children in one parent families.
One Plus is a dynamic independent organisation
of lone parent families. One Plus collaborates with a range of
partners creating services, training and employment within local
communities to help tackle the poverty and social exclusion facing
so many one parent families.
Although the Inquiry focus is on child poverty
One Plus believes it is not possible to detach child poverty from
the poverty facing the families they live in. The following overview
therefore looks at the situation of one parent families in Scotland.
There are 151,484 lone parents with
dependent children in Scotland. A one parent family is now a stage
in the family life cycle. Lone parents are concentrated in certain
The connection between lone parenthood,
child poverty and deprivation is well documented. Having no paid
work is closely associated with poverty. However, lone parents'
earnings do not lift them far up the income distribution ladder.
Lone parenthood shows the single biggest
association with an individual's risk of non-employment.
Education, Skills and Training
Lone parents need to be able to increase
their education and skills to enable them to move into the labour
market on a higher level. However almost half of lone parents
not in work have no academic qualification.
A variety of research indicates that
poor health is a hidden hand in keeping many lone parents trapped
in poverty. This is a contributory factor to other forms of deprivation
lone parents face.
Lone parents score extremely high on
indicators which highlight a lack of financial services. The financial
exclusion lone parents face results in a range of problems in
paying for basic needs.
Housing Applications and Physical
Lone parents are often concentrated
in georgraphical areas with poor housing. They are also more likely
to be dissatisfied with the area they live in than other groups.
Communication and Digital Exclusion
Lone parents have a low level of access
to ICT and personal transport. This reduces their employability
as well as learning, training and community participation opportunities.
Geographical Access to Employment
There is a concentration of lone parents
in urban conurbations and areas of industrial decline. As a result
they are faced with higher costs reducing their net disposable
Social Deprivation and Isolation
Lone parents experence severe hardship,
poor housing, health problems and a lack of access to financial
services. All of which has an adverse effect on social relationships
which are just as much "necessities of life" as are
material goods and services.
The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee
has announced an inquiry "to examine the extent of child
poverty in the UK and the effectiveness of the Government's strategy
to eradicate it".
The number of children in relative poverty in
the UK has increased substantially over the past few decades and
the latest figures show that 3.8 million children 30% of all children
are living in poverty (below 60% of median income after housing
costs). The Government has pledged to end child poverty within
20 years; to reduce child poverty by half by 2010; and has a PSA
target to reduce it by at least a quarter (to 3.1 million) by
2004. As the first stage of the child poverty target draws near,
the Government believes it is on track to meet the target. Yet
organisations working in the poverty field, leading children's
organisations and academics are increasingly concerned that this
may not be the case.
Issues to be included in the Committee's inquiry
The measurement of child poverty
and the Government's annual poverty report, Opportunity For
The extent of child poverty in Britain
and the causes of it.
The impact of child poverty on children
and familiesare specific groups particularly affected?
The extent and causes of regional
variations in child poverty.
The effectiveness of the Government's
strategies to reduce child poverty and whether the child poverty
targets will be met. Is enough being done across government and
are further initiatives needed?
Comparisons between child poverty
within the UK and other countries.
This submission from One Plus: One Parent Families
is a response to some of these issues which are of relevance to
children in one parent families in Scotland.
One Plus is a dynamic independent organisation
for one parent families. One Plus works throughout west and central
Scotland and is managed by an elected committee, the majority
of whom are lone parents. Lone parent involvement in setting priorities
and in the work of the organisation has been crucial in enabling
One Plus to be recognised as a leading lone parent organisation.
One Plus collaborates with a range of partners,
creating services, training and employment within local communities
to help tackle the poverty and social exclusion facing so many
one parent families. One Plus is active in three key areas:
It delivers a range of diverse, innovative
and responsive services which benefit one parent families.
Campaigning and policy work to promote
positive policies for lone parents and children.
Involvement in the development and
delivery of community projects and initiatives, particularly developing
Childcare and Social Care Services within the social economy.
One Plus is a major employer in Glasgow, employing
around 580 people. It has 200 permanent staff, 188 intermediate
labour market employees and over 192 sessional staff. "Kidcare",
a One Plus community enterprise, employs over 70 staff. One Plus
provides training places for over 360 trainees at any one time,
delivers childcare to 500 children in 18 out-of-school care services
and 176 under-fives in five daycare facilities. One Plus provides
2,000 hours of social care to 195 clients, deals with over 7,500
enquiries a year from lone parents and others and works with local
Lone parents face problems and barriers which
often seem impossible to overcome if faced alone. One Plus aims
to bring lone parents together to promote positive policies which
improve opportunities for themselves and their children.
(I) LONE PARENTS
There are 151,484 lone parents with dependant
children in Scotland, 24.5% of all families with children! They
care for around 257,522 children. A one parent family is now a
stage in the family life cycle lasting on average around five
years. A third to a half of children will spend some time in a
one parent family.
Analysis shows that there are more one parent
families in certain geographical area (see Appendix 1). In Glasgow
there are now 27,920 lone parent families who make up 40% of all
families with children. In Social Inclusion Partnership areas
the proportion can be even higher. Therefore one parent families
are a large group within Scottish society and in particular as
a percentage of families with children. This is a crucial point
because in partnership with the UK Government the Scottish Executive
is committed to eradicating child poverty in a generation. A key
issue is the extent to which child deprivation can be determined
from examining household deprivation. Household poverty is generally
accepted as the most important indicator of the well-being of
children. Therefore the poverty and deprivation facing lone parent
families offers the evidence for the development of a specific
targeted response to support them to tackle the issues which trap
their children in poverty and social exclusion.
The next section covers the income deprivation
and poverty facing lone parents and their children.
(II) LOW INCOME
The connection between lone parenthood, poverty
and deprivation is well documented as the following research highlights.
While lone parents make up 9% of
the total UK population at 21% they continue to be over-represented
among those in poverty.
Around two thirds of lone parent
households in Scotland fall below the 70% low incomethreshold
and more than half below the 60% threshold. This is at least double
the rate for anyone else (couples with children; adults no
children and pensioners.
There are noticeable differences
in income levels within Scotland. In 2000 the average income(before
housing costs) in Scotland was £336. The weekly income of
couples with children was£360. Lone Parents had the lowest
income at £204 a week.
In Scotland 77,600 lone parents claim
Income Support. If single claimants with dependentsclaiming the
disabled and pensioner premiums are included this rises to 93,000.
54% of children in one parent families
are poor compared to 22% in families with two parents. 45% of
all poor children now live in one parent families.
Nearly twice as many children in
one parent families (77%) have families in the bottom two-fifths
of the income distribution compared to 43% of children in couple
In Scotland 70% of lone parents had
a net annual Income of less than £10,000 compared to 25%
of small two parent families and 29% of large two parent families.
Having no paid work is closely associated with
poverty. However, lone parents earnings do not lift them far up
the income distribution ladder. As the following research highlights
for many lone parents the financial gain of employment is small.
58% of children living with a working
lone parent are in the bottom two-fifths of the income distribution
and for those whose parents work part-time the figure is 78%.
WFTC (now replaced by the Working
and Child Tax Credits) was received by 80,600 lone parents in
Scotland in August 2002. Of these only 16,000 receive Childcare
Tax Credit. The average payment is £38.
The majority (77%) of lone parents
in Scotland who work, and claim WFTC, fall into the lowest paid
occupational groups: Admin/Clerical (29%); Personal Services (18%);
Sales (17%); elementary occupations (13%).
Patterns of family formation play a major role
in the distribution of employment and changes in both domains
have a strong influence on each other.
Lone parenthood shows the single biggest association
with an individual's risk of non-employment (a 45% increased risk
compared to: 20% for "any impairment"; 7% for over 50
years of age; 13% for those with low qualifications, skills).
Lone parents are currently the subject of major
policy initiatives in Scotland as well as UK wide policies. The
Government's official target is that 70% of lone parents should
be in employment by 2010. The aim therefore is to reduce non-employment
among lone parents to 30%.
Research highlights the following findings around
lone parents and employment.
The employment rate for lone parents
in 2002 has increased to 56% from 42% in 1997 [Labour Force Survey
definition includes any work at alleven a couple of hours].
57% of lone parent households in
Scotland contains no working adults.
The economic status of Scottish female
lone parents differs from that of working women as a whole.
18% of female single parents are
in full-time employment compared with 39% overall.
23% are in part-time employment as
are 18% of all women?.
42% of single parent women are looking
after the home or family compared with 18% of all working women.
Although 90% of lone parents say
they would like to work at some point, this doesn't mean that
they are "work-ready" immediately.
Almost four in 10 already work 16
hours or more a week.
Nearly two in 10 work a few hours
or are ready to work.
Three in 10 want to work one day.
One in 10 will never be able to work.
The Government's target of 70% to be in work
by 2010 is ambitious. Significant infrastructural changes are
needed to address major barriers to work faced by lone parents.
The combination of educational, training and
on-the-job experience builds up an individual's stock of skills
which pays a "dividend" in terms of future job prospects
Low paid work even if supplemented by Tax Credits,
is often not enough to lift one parent families out of poverty.
Lone parents need to be offered the opportunity to increase their
education and skills to enable them to move into the labour market
at a higher level and earn wages capable of lifting them out of
However the following research shows:
Over a third of all lone parents
and nearly half of those not in work (44%) have no academic qualification.
In Scotland 3% of female lone parents
were in further or higher education in 2001 compared to 5% of
Recent training is also likely to
affect employment opportunities. Lone mothers who receive training
one year are twice as likely as those who did not, to find a job
the next year.
The Scottish Executive Social Justice target
aims to increase the employment of lone parents who are relatively
disadvantaged in the labour market. Lower educational achievement
is related to earlier deprivation and exerts a strong influence
on immediate labour market outcomes and future life opportunities
of lone parents and their children.
(V) HEALTH DEPRIVATION
The link between poverty and ill health is well
documented. Studies by the Policy Studies Institute and others
indicate that poor health prevents many lone parents from improving
Three in 10 lone parents has a sick
or disabled child. Twenty-five per cent of these parents say this
restricts their options to take up paid employment.
Thirty-three percent of lone parents
working under 16 hours suffer ill health either from a long standing
illness or disability22% say it affects their ability to
The stress of being a sole carer
has a particular impact on health. In addition lone parents who
move from benefits to low paid work may sometimes be no better
off in socio-economic terms and even worse off in health terms.
50% of all lone mothers smoketwice
the rate of other women. While 75% of the most disadvantaged lone
The hardship lone parents experience
forms a major barrier to giving up smoking. At the same time the
financial and health burden imposed by smoking deepen their difficulties.
These in turn discourages a return to work.
A child born in Glasgow can expect
to live for 10 years (male) or seven years (female) less than
a child born in Dorset/Somerset. The poor health lone parents
face is a contributory factor to other forms of deprivation lone
parents facelow income, lack of paid employment, isolation
and low self-esteem.
A lack of financial services such as banking,
credit cards and insurance can lead to a higher cost of living,
lack of access to other services or goods and higher financial
Around 45% of lone parent households
in Scotland have a net annual income of less than £10,000.
This is compared to 6% of both small and large families.
Across Scotland 53% of households
have savings or investments. Lone Parents at 18% are the least
likely household type to have any savings.
Eighty-seven per cent of households
in Scotland have a bank account. Lone Parent households at 68%
are by far the least likely to have a bank account.
The financial exclusion one parent families
face results in lone parents facing a range of problems in paying
for basic needs such as heating and housing costs.
The physical conditions in which people live
and whether or not they have secure permanent accommodation have
a considerable impact on their well-being. Research shows that
lone parents are often concentrated in areas with poor housing:
On becoming a lone parent 58% of
women move their home most often into local authority accommodation.
In Scotland lone parent households
are the only household type with a majority in social rented housing
at 63% compared to an average of 28% of whole population.
Lone parents in Scotland are more
likely to live in flats than other household types52% compared
to 22% of small families and 14% of large families.
Lone parents in Scotland are significantly
more likely than other household types to say their area is a
poor place to live with almost a quarter saying this.
Lone Parent Households in Scotland
have higher rates of housebreaking than other households at 5%
compared to an average of 2%. They also experience higher vandalism
than any other group14% compared to a national average
The economic and social deprivation faced by
one parent families is reflected in their low level of access
to information and communication technology and personal transport.
The fact that many lone parents do not have a car or access to
a computer also reduces their employability as well as the capacity
to participate in learning, training or community activities:
61% of Scottish Lone Parent Households
do not have access to any motor vehicle compared to 12% of small
families and 14% of large families.
34% of Lone Parent Households have
a computer compared to 66% of small families and 70% of large
Only 20% of lone parents have access
to the Internet compared to 51% of small families and 53% of large
There are more lone parents in Scottish urban
conurbations and in areas which have seen industrial declinesuch
as Glasgow, Dundee and Lanarkshire. Moreover the percentage of
one parent families living in SIP areas is extremely highthese
are areas where there are fewer employment prospects and slower
growth in new employment opportunities.
In Glasgow lone parents form 40.1% of all families
with children (see Appendix 1); Dundee and West Dunbartonshire
have the next highest proportions of one parent families at 35%
and 32% respectively. In SIP areas lone parent families constitute
even higher percentages of all families with children. In Millarston,
Glenburn and Thrushcraigs SIPs in Renfrewshire for example lone
parents constitute 66%, 57% and 56% of all families respectively.
For lone parents in depressed local labour markets
one of the major barriers to employment, and to leaving poverty
through employment, is a shortage of well paid jobs. Lone parents
tend to be concentrated in geographical areas which have not benefited
from the restructuring of employment.
People with low access to employment will be
faced with higher costs in travelling to work, reducing their
income. Lone parents face the additional cost of funding childcare
to cover any time taken up by travelling to work.
(X) SOCIAL DEPRIVATION
Lone parents who have lived in poverty for some
time experience severe hardship, poor housing, health problems,
lack of access to financial services and debt. All of which has
an adverse effect on social relationships which are just as much
"necessities of life" as material goods or services.
Lone parents, because of their sole caring responsibilities
and low income are often isolated in their home. Research highlights
the lack of confidence of lone parents who have been socially
and domestically isolated for a number of years, caring for young
children. Isolation occurs at a number of levels. One is simply
not having an adult partner with whom to share experiences secondly,
many lone parents whether working or not can feel trapped in the
evening because of the expense of childcare and the lack of a
partner to look after the children. Lack of income to participate
outside the home is another issue, while many social activities
are geared towards couples. Finally for many lone parents the
effort of coping all day with the sole responsibility for the
children leaves them too worn out/exhausted to contemplate other
than home-centred activities.
At an individual level the loss of social ties
may lead to a loss of social support, isolation and stress. Long
spells of comparative social isolation does not just affect lone
parents' confidence, but also their contact with the networks
and facilitates which exist to support families or to help people
A recent analysis by NOMIS based at Durham University
(50) shows that 40% of all households with children in Glasgow
are now lone parent households. Across other Local Authorities
in Scotland the trends are similar. One Plus, because of its range
of services in local communities, is in touch with thousands of
lone parent families. The organisation, along with many others,
is concerned as to why after so many years of policies targeting
one parent families, so many children are still living in poverty.
One Plus therefore decided to ask lone parents
themselves what they think about key policies. The aim was to
listen to their views on areas of policy which affect their lives
and are the key to offering a route out of poverty. The Report
"Our Right To Be Heard" (51) summarises the results
of the consultation exercise which involved over 200 lone parents
The main findings of relevance to the Committee
Enquiry were as follows:
Supporting lone parents into employment as part
of a strategy to eradicate child poverty
1. Lone parents trapped in hardship are
less able to look at their options to move on to training, education
or employment. Improve basic out of work benefit levels and review
the Social Fund. A minimum income level should be set by government
to help families out of poverty.
2. Invest in making Welfare Benefits more
flexible and ensure the financial protection of families during
times of transitions.
3. Increase the level of child tax credits
per child to improve in-work income. Improve tax credit service
delivery and ensure maximum take-up.
4. Reduce the tapers on loss of Housing
Benefit and Council Tax Benefit caused by increased income.
5. Widen eligibility for free school meals
to all school children.
6. Improve the affordability, accessibility,
flexibility and quality of childcareparticularly for parents
working unsocial hours. The Scottish Executive should investigate
the role of informal care and how it can be resourced.
7. Develop low cost credit options for those
on low incomes as well as access to basic banking facilities such
as direct debits.
8. Provide support to Initiatives, which
offer lone parents access to training and education linked to
better paid/higher quality employment.
9. Support for lone parents in employment
to improve skills and training to sustain employment.
10. Access to a one-stop advice service,
which is independent and offers a holistic service to lone parents
including advice on employment opportunities.
11. Employers should be offered support
to improve work/life balance policies. A positive image of lone
parents in the workforce should be promoted amongst employers
backed up with research and marketing materials.
12. The cost of travel is a serious barriercommunity
transport initiatives linked to employment should be piloted in
partnership with employers.
13. Employment creation projects in areas
with low vacancies and subsidised employment for disadvantaged
Lone Parents would offer lone parents the chance of paid employment
in their own communities.
1. There should be one building in each
local area offering a comprehensive, holistic service which caters
for varying ages and special needs, including: childcare; early
education; health; family; training and employment support.
2. The Scottish Executive should assess
and review the availability of childcare to meet the needs of
lone parents not in employment, as well as those aiming to take
up Learning, Training, Education or Employment and take action
to improve availability, affordability and flexibility.
3. Childcare should be made more affordable
firstly by increasing the contribution made by the childcare element
of Tax Credits to reflect the real costs of childcare. Secondly
provision of childcare should include 100% subsidy for specified
target groups and geographical areas.
4. Publicity and information on the range
of Childcare Services requires further investment by Scottish
Executive and Local Authorities.
5. In terms of provision and funding both
Scottish Executive and Local Authorities need to implement more
"joined up thinking" and standardisation of quality,
affordability, accessibility and flexibility.
6. The Scottish Executive should review
the opening of hours of all childcare/nursery school provision
within their remit.
7. The food provided in nurseries in particular
should be subject to statutory nutritional standards.
8. There should be better recognition and
status for childcare workers including better pay.
9. Funding processes to create new provision
should be simplified.
10. Employers should be offered financial
incentives to encourage employer supported childcarefor
example, workplace nurseries and summer playschemes.
11. Provision of support to employers to
extend flexible working practices for those with caring responsibilities.
12. Many lone parents use family and friends
for childcare provision. Financial support for this form of care
should be investigatedparticularly around out of school
13. Transport issues linked to childcare
providers was felt to be a real problem and should be pursued
1. Investigate options to tackle the effect
of loss of Income Support, Housing and Council Tax Benefits and
the resultant high levels of debt facing lone parents moving into
higher education. For example, to be able to stay on benefits
at all levels of education and disregarding the value of any student
loan when calculating benefit entitlement.
2. The Scottish Executive should look at
the support mechanisms required to enable lone parents to move
on to Further Education and Higher Educationaddressing
problems around transitions.
3. Funding to develop a customised expert
service which is locally based to advise lone parents and adult
returners to further and higher education, which is accessible
4. Address financial issues around the transition
from Income Support to student support and back again for students
5. Lone parent students often are denied
access to the childcare they require to pursue their studies.
Childcare for training and education should be fully funded by
the government. (See Childcare Recommendations)
6. More support is needed for travel costs.
7. Training designed to offer confidence
building, assertiveness and personal action planning tackles some
of the barriers lone parents face in moving into learning and
8. Introduce supported learning and training
for lone parents in employment to improve skills and access to
better paid employment.
9. Educational Institutions and learning
providers should be encouraged to offer options, which enable
parents and carers to balance their learning with their caring
10. Consideration should be given to the
location of education opportunities in relation to where lone
11. Open and Distance Learning options should
be developed and promoted as a route to lone parents access to
learning using new technological advances such as e-learning.
12. The New Deal for Lone Parents should
move away from a "work-first" approach and be resourced
to offer increased support to improve lone parents awareness and
access to learning, training and education.
This final section builds on the issues and
recommendations identified by Lone Parents at the One Plus, Our
Right To Be Heard Conference. It identifies key future priorities
for policy makers in developing cross-cutting policy which would
tackle the poverty and social exclusion facing lone parents and
their children. As a community level it also describes how providing
a range of customised family-focused services as part of a training
and employment continuum can provide Lone Parents a bridge to
social and economic inclusion.
Annual Family Impact Assessment Statements
The first objective of any policy to tackle
the poverty and social exclusion facing one parent families must
be to improve the financial situation of Lone Parents and their
children. Lone parents need to be offered the opportunity to increase
their education and skills to enable access to higher level employment
with wages capable of lifting them out of poverty. For many Lone
Parents living in disadvantaged areas and rural communities, one
of the major barriers to employment is a shortage of well paid
family friendly employment. However, undue emphasis should not
be placed on pressurising parents into the labour market, creating
a danger that those denied the chance to be full-time carers will
become victims of stressful, low-paid, inflexible employment and
unsatisfactory childcare arrangements.
Full-time work is not an immediate option for
many Lone Parents because of the needs of their children. However
the policies advocated in this report would facilitate the transition
from Income Support to paid work for those Lone Parents who wish
to work. The primary factors which motivate a lone parent's decision
whether to work or not will be what is in the best interests of
Poverty has tended, in the past, to be departmentalised.
Few of the solutions recognise the complexity of people's lives.
They deal with poverty as though it were about benefits or tax
or childcare or education or health or housing. The lives of families
living in poverty are part of the whole picture and their views
need to be taken into account. Most of all, a strategy for poverty
must cut across disciplines and across government departments.
To help families out of poverty, policies must
be developed as a means of creating security. Policies which will
affect social exclusion, need to be not only about tax and benefits,
childcare, housing and health. They have to be a means of giving
people a stake in society, making it clear that the large number
of lone parents who are disenfranchised have a right to be citizens
and able to participate in society fully.
A co-ordinated, interdisciplinary approach which
is well resourced is necessary to address the issues around lone
parent poverty. All government policies should give due consideration
as to their implications for families and children. An explicit
Family Impact Assessment mechanism needs to be developed to measure
the effect of legislation on families and children. This would
1. MAPPING LONE
& SOCIAL EXCLUSION
A "mapping" study of Lone Parents
would report on the situation of lone parents across Scotland
by Local Authority according to a set of Key Indictors including
Participation in community structures
It would also provide information on current
service provision in each area. This would enable the position
of each local authority to be ranked in relation to deprivation
and service indicators. It would also form the basis for Family
Policy targets. Three main areas include:
Social and economic measures to
support families eg tax, child benefit, the family dimension of
The material and non material
infrastructure for supporting families. This would range from
Home Helps to collective facilities such as nurseries, school
meals and community centres.
All areas of family law, including
relationships between government and the family.
2. Reviewing existing legislation
and identifying areas for future action in regular monitoring
reports. This would include reviewing the Social Justice Milestone
for Lone Parents set by the Scottish Executive.
3. Evaluation of the potential impact
of new legislation and making recommendations for adjustments.
An Annual Family Impact Assessment statement
would: introduce the need for a co-ordinated strategy of data
collected, evaluate the impact of new legislation; review existing
legislation; and measure progress towards targets to tackle lone
parent social exclusion and poverty and identifying areas for
PROVIDING A BRIDGE TO SOCIAL & ECONOMIC
A Scottish Demonstration Project Focusing On One
There are series of stages during which a lone
parent may experience vulnerability on her journey from Income
Support to learning, training, education or employment.
The reality for lone parents is that they often
face multiple transitional phases where a lack of support undermines
the sustainability of new opportunities. These transitional phases
become central to proposals to support lone parents wishing to
move on. To address these issues One Plus recommends:
The development of opportunities
which are responsive to the needs of individual lone parents and
based on more flexible measures of "success". Interim
indicators of progress include increased confidence, self-esteem
Addressing issues around the role
of "trusted" intermediary organisations. Specifically
how national programme can be combined with local initiatives
to best meet the needs of individual lone parents.
A Scottish Executive-led demonstration project
could give focus to initiatives dealing with "transitions"
aimed at gathering together good practice and allow for its dissemination
widely across Scotland.
One Plus for example has developed a model of
practice which aims to demonstrate that through providing holistic
support and training, pathways to sustainable employment can be
created for Lone Parents. "The Training and Employment Continuum"
is unique in that it links various support mechanisms together
with customized group-based pre-vocational support/training, vocational
training, access to employment and support to ensure employment
is sustainable. The aim is to maximise the participating Lone
Parents' incomes as well as enabling a balance between work and
family commitments. The individual lone parents involved move
through a series of transitions responsive to their needs and
interests from initial contact through confidence building, assertiveness
training and goal identification to other support options and
eventually to appropriate training, education or employment. The
approach is "family-focused" and the needs of children
are central to the success of the model. Lone Parents' access
to employment and the sustainability of this employment could
be improved by supporting flexible holistic approaches to lone
parent needs. This could include:
A voluntary pre employment "Gateway"
Initiative delivered by "trusted intermediaries" customised
to suit Lone Parents including:
Group based training in confidence
building; skills identification; Lone Parent issues; Personal
Action Planning; short taster courses.
Information provision in five key
areas: Training & Education opportunities; Grants/Bursaries;
In-work Benefits; Careers Information & Guidance; Childcare
Support mechanisms which include:
travel expenses; an allowance/voluntary payment; childcare expenses/facilities.
Personalised Advice Service covering
family related matters.
Mentoring support to enable sustainable
involvement in training, education and employment.
Post course tracking and support.
Building partnerships with the Employment
Service, Careers Service, local colleges and employers and promotion
of work/life balance policies.
TRAINING & EMPLOYMENT
Development of social economy sector
service delivery companies.
Training & employment offered
as part of an ILM Initiative. For example One Plus "Childcare
and Social Care" Initiatives.
Customised vocational training courses
with work experience element.
Job Rotation Initiatives.
Sustainable Employment Initiatives.
Lone parents can access support in
term of benefits advice, legal advice, childcare information and
advice around children at any time.
Training is locally based.
Childcare is organised as an integral
element of the course delivery.
Group-based Personal Development
is an integral part of the training.
Training combines theory and practice
using a combination of classroom based activity and work placement.
Training is targetted at lone parents
with a significant proportion being resident in priority areas.
Completion of the SVQ Qualification
can provide direct entry to HNC/HND level.
Training and employment opportunities
are designed to maximise income. Participants are offered a continuum
from pre-vocational support, through a pre-employment/training
gateway to vocational training or education and employment and
The courses provide well trained
staff for growth sectors of the labour market.
A major issue for lone parents is access to
and the availability of jobs which pay enough to support a family
from one wage. Customised initiatives to suit the particular barriers
facing lone parents offers a key element of an integrated approach
to lone parents needs to ensure a better deal for all one parent
families. The One Plus model is but one example. A whole variety
of initiatives developed the public and voluntary sector partnerships
have been initiated across Scotland.
11 September 2003