Evaluation of the Health-led Employment Trials: Synthesis report

Newton B, Gloster R |   | Department for Work and Pensions / Department of Health & Social Care | Apr 2023

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This summary provides insights into the outcomes from the Health-led Employment Trials (‘trials’) 12 months after recruitment. These tested the difference made by Individual Placement and Support (IPS) to the employment, health and wellbeing outcomes of people with mild-to-moderate mental and physical health conditions in primary and community health settings. The trials were implemented in West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Sheffield City Region (SCR). Both recruited people who were not working (the out-of-work (OOW) trial group). Additionally, SCR recruited people who were working but off sick due to ill-health (the in-work (IW) trial group).

The trials’ origins date back to 2015, when the Work and Health Unit (WHU) – a joint unit between the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) working with NHS England – was awarded a health and work innovation fund to develop, deliver and test new ways of working to improve individual economic, social and clinical outcomes.

The aim was to improve prevailing trends as disabled people had substantially lower rates of employment than average over many years. In 2015, the disability employment rate gap was 32.2 percentage points (ppts). In July 2022 it stood at 23.2 ppts.

This summary covers the trials’ employment, health and wellbeing outcomes and lessons for implementation. It draws on baseline data collected pre-randomisation; surveys of recruits conducted 4 and 12-months after randomisation; qualitative interviews with staff, stakeholders, and recruits; service provider management information (MI), national administrative data sets, and assessment of the causal pathways to outcomes.