Sustainable, rewarding employment for all (III)

21 November 2016

The world of welfare-to-work is changing. In October, the Department for Work and Pensions started the process of preparing for the selection of providers to deliver the new Work and Health Programme in England and Wales. In addition, the Scottish Government has started procuring Work Able Scotland, a short programme laying the foundations for the Scottish Employability Service next year. Reform’s conference is therefore very timely. Supporting people with several complex needs to move into sustainable employment and to progress must be at the heart of any discussion around a ‘welfare state that works for all’.

Ingeus is a provider of integrated employment, skills and health services, as well as programmes for young people and probation services. The key thread running through everything we do has always been about facilitating positive change and helping people take charge of their lives.

Looking specifically at the new Work and Health Programme, there will be a much stronger focus on helping people with health conditions and disabilities, sharply underlined by the UK Government’s stated commitment to halve the disability employment rate gap by 2020.

Since 2011, through our programmes Ingeus has supported nearly 50,000 people with disabilities into work. Through this insight we have identified several key ingredients for any successful employment services, including:

  • Understanding your clients
  • Investment
  • Integration
  • Quality of your people
  • Intensity of support

Let’s look at one of these elements: integration.

Firstly, for people to be properly supported, we need services to work together and be coordinated around an individual with their specific needs at the centre. This is the approach Ingeus has adopted across all our employability programmes. For example, we employ a team of clinicians and healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, psychologists and occupational therapists to work alongside our employment advisors.

Secondly, integration with existing local services, rather than duplication, is essential. Our experience delivering the Working Well programme in Greater Manchester is a great example of an intensive and personalised support service that is fully sequenced and integrated with the local service landscape. Keyworkers act as the single point of contact and coordinate all other services for the client. Local areas develop a Local Integration Plan, and Ingeus, local leads and support services (including drug and alcohol teams, skills and housing) hold regular Local Integration Board meetings to ‘case conference’ and ensure support is joined up effectively.

Finally, integration means partnerships. That is why Ingeus and Pluss, an award winning social enterprise, have joined forces for the Work and Health Programme bringing together Ingeus’ proven expertise in supporting jobseekers, including those with complex health conditions, with Pluss’ award-winning approach to helping people with disabilities back into work.

Partnerships also means working with employers to open up job and career opportunities for all. As a Disability Confident Leader, we know that those employers who are disability smart, willing to make appropriate adjustments, and have a culture and environment which makes disabled people feel properly supported are more successful in supporting people back into work.

Barry Fletcher, Chief Operating Officer, Ingeus UK

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