Centre for Mental Health and the IPS Centres of Excellence are involved in several IPS projects which either increase the number of IPS services in the UK, improve the quality of existing employment services or investigate the use of IPS principles in alternative contexts.

IPS Regional trainers

Implementation of the IPS approach in the UK has been patchy and few places have achieved high fidelity to the model. Practitioners in the USA have been implementing IPS programmes since 2001 and used State Trainers to increase paid work outcomes for clients with severe and enduring mental illness. The success of these posts has lead to the creation of similar posts in the UK.

IPS Implementing what works

In 2012, Centre for Mental Health tested this approach at an existing IPS Centre of Excellence in Sussex, creating the first Regional Trainer in the UK. The post built sustainable, high performing (high fidelity) supported employment services across Sussex and increased the numbers of people found competitive jobs. Over the 12 months of the pilot the number of people who obtained paid work through the IPS service more than doubled the target of 125. Overall, 286 people found paid employment.

Improve and Improve 2

The Improve Projects led by the IPS Centre of Excellence Enable, in partnership with Centre for Mental Health, were developed to disseminate IPS in partnership in the West Midlands to promote the IPS approach to supported employment services, ensuring essential IPS principles were encouraged and implemented. 

The first Improve Project increased the skills and knowledge base of 6 employment teams in the West Midlands and supported them to develop their services using the IPS model. The Improve brochure outlines the challenges faced, lessons learned and progress made by the teams involved in this project. The success of Improve led to a repeat of the project with additional employment teams.

Making IPS work - establishing IPS in six new areas

Centre for Mental Health's latest IPS project builds on the previous work on the Sussex Regional Trainer and Improve in the West Midlands. The Making IPS Work project will firmly establish IPS services in six areas including Berkshire, Lincolnshire and Bradford, aiming to achieve a total of 340 paid jobs for service users over three years.

This project is funded by the Government's Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund (IESD) through the Department of Health.

IPS in IAPT services

This six-month Individual Placement and Support (IPS) in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) pilot tested the feasibility of adapting the evidence-based IPS approach from specialist mental health services to primary care IAPT services for people with anxiety and depression.

The IPS in IAPT programme took place in four areas of England (Durham/Tees Valley, Wolverhampton, Shropshire/Telford (Enable IPS Centre of Excellence) and Sussex (Southdown IPS Centre of Excellence)) to provide psychological therapy to people who were out of work and who wanted it, alongside help from an employment specialist.

The project was a major recommendation of RAND Europe’s report on how to help people with common mental health problems into paid employment.




IPS for offenders leaving prison 

The Centre is working on a three-year research project to implement IPS in completely new settings to learn how the model should be adapted to achieve successful outcomes for offenders with mental health problems. Thanks to funding from Garfield Weston, Henry Smith Charity and John Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, we are testing IPS at up to three sites in Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Three employment specialists trained in IPS are working with the prison mental health teams but also in prison resettlement departments. They engage prisoners at least four weeks before release and offer through-the-gate support. The specialist continues to work with both the released person, the receiving community mental health service and with employers post-release. 

Read more on supporting offenders into employment here.

IPS in addictions services

The East Sussex Drug & Alcohol Employment Service, funded by East Sussex County Council and delivered by Southdown IPS Centre of Excellence, was a one-year pilot which aimed to test the effectiveness of offering IPS employment support to clients with alcohol or substance misuse needs.  Employment Specialists worked closely with local providers of drug & alcohol services to ensure that employment support was provided in addition to individual treatment programmes.

The pilot ended on the 30th June 2015 and Southdown are in the process of compiling a full end of service report for review by its funders. Initial findings look positive; the service received 130 referrals in total, and 83 of these referrals were accepted onto the service. The service achieved 18 paid outcomes, with an additional 45 voluntary and education outcomes, and 55% of clients had sustained their paid employment for at least 3 months.

For further information please contact Saxon Chadwick, IPS Contract Manager, at s.chadwick@southdownhousing.org or Lisa Kirby, IPS Team Manager, at l.kirby@southdownhousing.org

IPS in collaboration with Mind and JobCentre Plus 

This pilot project was a joint venture involving Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust IPS Centre of Excellence, Mind in Taunton and West Somerset and JobCentre Plus. The project used the Individual Placement and Support model to support JobCentre Plus customers with moderate to severe mental health needs into paid work.

The Strategic Health Authority provided funding for the twelve-month pilot (April 2011-March 2012) which was then extended until August 2012. During the pilot project, the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) service was delivered to customers of Taunton and Minehead JobCentres who identified that they would like to get a paid job, and felt that they would value support to achieve this goal on the basis of their mental health need. The service was designed for individuals who were not in contact with the secondary mental health services in the locality.

The pilot project achieved an IPS fidelity rating of GOOD (105/125) at the twelve month review. The return to work rate was 50%, matching expectations of an IPS service with this level of fidelity. 

For further information please contact Ed Gillam, IPS Team Manager at Ed.Gillam@sompar.nhs.uk