Setting up an Individual Placement and Support (IPS) employment service can change people’s lives and revolutionise mental health care in a local area, says a report published today by Centre for Mental Health.

Making Individual Placement and Support work, by David Gilbert and Rachel Papworth, is an independent evaluation of the Centre’s work in six local areas across England to set up IPS services where they were not previously established.

The report finds that the IPS services set up through the scheme had multiple benefits: not just in helping people to get jobs but in building up people’s confidence in themselves, supporting wellbeing and improving staff morale.

It finds that putting IPS in place in mental health services is a challenging process. It presents a significant change management task. It means changing both the cultures and practices of mental health services. And it requires close partnership working with a range of other services, including Jobcentres, voluntary sector organisations and local employers.

David Gilbert said: “We heard in our research about the immense benefits of IPS – helping people find jobs and kickstarting lives. This had a knock on effect on staff morale and professional pride. The dedicated Employment Specialists were seen as kind, professional and people-centred. Where people’s trust had been broken, IPS went some way to repairing it. I hope that in future IPS becomes the norm in all mental health services and that our report helps to bring that a step closer.”

Centre for Mental Health programmes director Jan Hutchinson said: “The Making IPS Work programme aimed to change the lives of people across the country who previously did not have access to IPS. Today’s report shows that this can be done, but that the road can be bumpy and full of challenges.  The end result, however, is worth the effort: IPS really does work and it changes people’s lives.

“We are delighted that the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health included a pledge to double the number of people who will have access to IPS by 2021. We hope to build on what we have learned in this project to support mental health services to expand their IPS services. And over time we believe that no one with a mental health difficulty who wants help with work should be unable to access IPS, wherever they live.”


Read the report here