Helping People who are Out Of Work Because of Ill-Health to Return to Work

A Literature and Programme Review for the Improving Health, Increasing Employment in Birmingham and Solihull Project Board

Francis R, Barnes H, Lucy D, Savage J, Oakley J | Research Report 460 | Institute for Employment Studies | Sep 2008

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In Birmingham and Solihull, 61,000 people were out of work because of ill health and claiming Incapacity Benefits (IB) – in some wards 60 per cent of claimants had been on IB for over five years.

This literature and programme review was commissioned by the Improving Health, Increasing Employment Project Board of Birmingham and Solihull (IHIE) to help plan future programmes for existing IB claimants.

The review revealed:

  • The relative lack of research on the needs of existing IB claimants. There are also few specialist programmes to help this group and programmes are mainly led by employment outcomes and targets, not by health.
  • Some of the advantages that the involvement of health professionals can bring to programmes. The review also considered how programmes can be tailored to the needs of the local population.
  • Important gaps in programmes’ services, in the areas of health advice, engagement with employers to change attitudes to employing IB claimants, in-work support, updating skills, and help for the self-employed.