Case Study – Social Impact Bonds

Mental Health and Employment Partnership (MHEP) has a mission to provide support to individuals living with severe mental health illness to help them achieve competitive, paid employment through Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services.

MHEP is the first Social Impact Bond (SIB) designed to support individuals with severe mental health issues into fulfilling work as an integral part of their treatment. Over three and a half years, the programme aimed to work with 2,624 people three local authorities (Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Staffordshire). This is a payment-by-results contract co-commissioned by The Cabinet Office and the Big Lottery Fund, with outcome payments generated by achieving outcomes linked to three key areas: initial engagement, entry into employment, and employment sustainment. While unemployment in the UK has fallen overall, the number of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance and Incapacity Benefit has risen by 15%. Individual Placement and Support (IPS) principles work as a fundamental part of a person’s treatment, rather than the traditional model of treatment and stabilisation followed by employment. IPS is based around a set of eight simple principles that include a focus on rapid job search, securing paid work, employment support integrated into clinical teams and provision of ongoing in-job support. There is now very strong international evidence that ‘place then train’ models – and IPS in particular – are much more effective than traditional approaches (such as vocational training) in successfully getting people into work.

MHEP’s target outcomes include improved well-being and self-reliance for the individuals and an increased number of job seekers entering and sustaining quality employment. In 2016/17 the organisation engaged 559 individuals, 133 of whom started in employment, with 91 people sustaining a job for more than 6 weeks.