IPS Centres of Excellence FAQs


What is an IPS Centre of Excellence?

IPS Centres of Excellence demonstrate high quality in their use of the IPS model and the job outcomes they achieve for people with severe and enduring mental illness and/or other complex health conditions.

What are the benefits of becoming a Centre of Excellence?

  • Inspire existing staff and attract new recruits
  • Promote IPS within the NHS Trust
  • Prove to commissioners the quality of the service delivery
  • Becoming a Centre of Excellence brings a quality mark to the service.
  • It is a recognised guarantee that the service works to international IPS standards and achieves good service outcomes.
  • Having the status supports providers in their bids for additional contracts.
  • It is a recognition of the joint working of the provider and the local Trust or Health Organisation according to best IPS practice.

Who can become a Centre of Excellence?

Any partnership of IPS provision and clinical treatment which delivers high quality IPS. The IPS provider may be the same organisation as the care and treatment provider, or a different organisation delivering IPS from within the clinical team.

Does your service need to operate in secondary Mental Health Care to become a Centre of Excellence?

No. As the IPS model is expanding into working with people with other health barriers to employment, we welcome IPS services working in primary care, drug and alcohol services etc. to undergo fidelity reviews and join the Centres of Excellence family.

What does being a Centre of Excellence involve?

As a Centre of Excellence a service will be a beacon, demonstrating how IPS can be implemented in localities across the UK and internationally.

Services undertake to continually improve their practice and share their learning with others.

Services will demonstrate how to implement the evidence of what works best in providing employment services for people with mental health problems and/or other health barriers to employment. In each site, the local mental health trust or health provider will work with partners in employment services, local authorities and other agencies to offer people effective support into paid work.

Services welcome visits or host open days for other organisations or commissioners interested in setting up services and/wish to learn from a more experienced service.

How do I apply to be a Centre of Excellence?

There is no application process to become a Centre of Excellence. It is by invitation only. Centre for Mental Health invites IPS services to become a recognised Centre of Excellence when they demonstrate exemplary practice and score good fidelity (at least 100 points) after undergoing a fidelity review with us.

Who will undertake our Fidelity Review?

A member of Centre for Mental Health staff or one of our small team of associates, trained in fidelity reviews, with experience of running IPS services themselves will undertake the fidelity review. They will often bring along an assistant reviewer to help decide on scores for each element.

Who sees our Fidelity Score?

Your score is confidential to your own IPS service, i.e. both the treatment organisation and IPS provider (if different) and Centre for Mental Health. We do not make scores public or share the detail of the review without your explicit permission.

Is there a charge to becoming a Centre of Excellence?

No. There is no charge.

Is there a charge to visit a Centre of Excellence or attend an open day?

Some Centres of Excellence who arrange Open days may choose to charge a small fee to cover any hosting costs e.g. refreshments but there is no set fee.

How do we organise a visit to a Centre of Excellence?

Please see the list of Centre of Excellence below and contact them directly to organise arrangements.

How long does it take to become a Centre of Excellence?

Services will normally need to establish themselves for 18 months to 2 years before they will be ready to undergo a full fidelity review and demonstrate that they carry out all aspects of IPS to good fidelity. All procedures and structures need to be in place and the service must demonstrate very high quality of delivery, integration with the treatment service, employer engagement and job outcome numbers.

How can Centre for Mental Health help?

In preparation for a full fidelity review the Centre can provide staff training, mentoring in Employer Engagement, advice on supervision skills, strategy meetings with local NHS Trust senior management, buddying with other Centres of Excellence.

We also hold annual Centre of Excellence Leads meetings which promote networking and mutual support.

How long does it last?

Once you have been invited to be a Centre of Excellence, this would last for a period of three years.  To retain recognition as a Centre of Excellence, a service would need to have a further fidelity review. This ensures continued good IPS practice and high delivery standards.

Do we get a badge and certificate?

Yes. IPS Centre of Excellence is a trademarked logo which you will be entitled to use. You will receive a pdf certificate and an electronic badge for emails and leaflets etc.

How much of our service does the Centre of Excellence recognition cover?

A fidelity review is usually undertaken mainly on the practice of one or two Employment Specialists and the clinical teams in which they are based, However quite a lot of the elements scored in a fidelity review are about the whole service, or are an average of the data from more than one Employment Specialist.

Centre for Mental Health only invites providers to become Centres of Excellence where it’s clear that the service as a whole is very well run, and that there is evidence that the service can demonstrate consistently good quality practice when requested to host international visitors, commissioners, parliamentarians etc.

All fidelity reviews consider the ‘whole’ IPS service when scoring the items for size of caseloads, employer engagement, evidence of integration, initial assessment by the clinicians, referral arrangements, rapid job search, role of supervisor, vocational unit, percentage of time the team spend in the community, senior executive support, clinical provider focus on employment and IPS performance in diversity of job types & diversity of employers.

Therefore, the whole IPS service which has been reviewed may be considered a Centre of Excellence, e.g. the whole NHS Trust service, under the senior manager interviewed and all the Employment Specialists whose data contributed to the review.

My organisation is a Centre of Excellence in another geographical area, does that mean our service is too?

The IPS Fidelity review will assesses the level of integration between a health provider and the integrated employment service. If the host health Trust/provider and the IPS service are the same in the two geographical areas then yes, you can also be considered part of that Centre of Excellence. However, if you are a provider organisation working with different Trusts then you can only say you are a Centre of Excellence working with that Trust or in that area. The same applies to Trusts working with different IPS providers. If you wish to discuss your service’s own circumstance, please contact us.

How is the status of Centre of Excellence renewed?

Towards the end of the three year period, the Centre will contact you to see if you would like to book another Fidelity Review. If you achieve another score of 100 or more then you will remain a Centre of Excellence. You would then be able to retain the status for another three years.

What if things change?

What if -

• we lose key staff?

• we gain a lot more staff?

• the service is not recommissioned?

• our organisation merges with another?

The Centre will only review a service every three years so changes in staff would not affect the current status. For individual support or to discuss the changes please contact us.

If a service is not recommissioned and therefore does not undertake another Fidelity Review then the service will be removed from the list of Centres of Excellence. This will also be the case if we are advised or learn that a service no longer exists.

If your organisation merges with another organisation then we would recommend a new Fidelity review to retain the status as the service fidelity items could be affected. This may also assist with the new management approach to IPS in the new organisation.

What if we score below 100 in our renewal review?

If you score below 100 then you would be offered a three month grace period. We would then look to conduct a follow-up Fidelity Review visit in order for the service to improve its score. If at the following visit you still achieve below a score of 100 then you would not be able to retain the Centre of Excellence status. If you were to score over 100 then you would remain a Centre of Excellence.

How can I find out more?

If you would like to find out more info about becoming or remaining a Centre of Excellence please contact Jan Hutchinson or Julie Bailie at Centre for Mental Health. Or speak to one of the other Centres of Excellence about their experience.

Last modified
15/04/2021 - 10:25

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