Evaluation of the 2010–13 Fit for Work Service pilots: final report

Hillage J, Williams M, Marvell R, Shiels C, Gabbay M, Weston K, Humphreys I | Research Report 896 | Department for Work and Pensions | Jun 2015

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Eleven pilots were launched throughout Great Britain between April and June 2010, to support employees in ill health to stay in or return to work after a period of sickness absence. Known at the time as the ‘Fit for Work Service’, these pilots were initially funded for one year by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department of Health (DH). Seven of the pilots were extended for a further two years.

These were intended to be proof of concept pilots, to test a variety of different locally determined models of delivering a service which helped employees to return to work. Although there was no intention to nationally roll out these models, learning around best practice has been fed back from these pilots to inform the implementation of the new national independent health and work advice and referral service (Fit for Work), which was launched at the end of 2014.

This report presents the available evidence on whether the pilots achieved their aims, in particular, whether the Year 2 and 3 pilots succeeded in providing biopsychosocial support to sickness absentees, improving their health, and helping them to return to work.