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. The first three sites recently completed and achieved 217 job starts against a target of 180.

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