Social Impact Bonds IPS evaluation

Year of Publication: 

The Mental Health and Employment Partnership (MHEP) Social Impact Bond (SIB) was  designed to create partnerships between agencies to drive innovation and collaboration. It sought to increase investment in Individual Placement Support (IPS) with the aim of better supporting unemployed people with severe and enduring mental health conditions back into employment.

Using the outcome-based SIB model, The Mental Health and Employment Partnership (MHEP), CCGs, Local Authorities and providers collaborated to deliver IPS across six locations over the period of the evaluation. The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) was commissioned to conduct an impact evaluation of the service, which took place between March 2016 and September 2019. Participants were aged 18 to 65 and out-of-work, with severe and enduring mental health conditions.

Data for 1926 participants were included in the evaluation. The primary outcomes for the study were entry to, and sustainment of, employment. Evaluation data were supplied by Social Finance. A further primary outcome examined benefit off-flow using self-report data elicited and recorded by IPS providers. Secondary outcomes looked at job sustainment, and  the number of hours worked.

Quantitative findings show that over the lifetime of the contract, 31% of participants engaged (590) achieved a job start, with 22% of these participants maintaining work for at least 6 weeks, and with 75% working 16 hours or more per week. Performance against service outcomes by the number of ES employed varied, with some ES taking on much larger caseloads and achieving many more employment outcomes than their counterparts in other areas.

Qualitative findings provide details of the delivery models and their differences, and present participant and partner perspectives on the efficacy of these models. Participants reported benefits of the service that went beyond jobsearch support, including to their sense of confidence and to their jobsearch skills. They also reported auxiliary benefits to obtaining employment, particularly those associated with their emotional wellbeing.