Supported Employment Proof of Concept

Supported Employment Proof of Concept

BASE has collaborated with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to create a Proof of Concept (PoC) for the funding and delivery of locally commissioned supported employment services. It follows the announcement that Work Choice would be closing and be replaced by the Work and Health Programme. It was agreed that the new programme was unlikely to meet the intensive support needs of people with a learning disability, autism or long-term mental health need.

BASE has pressed the case for national funding to be used to encourage local authorities to continue to invest in supported employment. There has been increasing evidence of disinvestment in such services across the country. The proof of concept was included in the Improving Lives green paper.

The customer cohort for the proof of concept is:

  • adults with a learning disability or autism who are known to health and/or local authorities
  • adults who have used secondary mental health services

Following a 2017 invitation to express interest in involvement, the PoC started in November and will run until May 2019. It involves 12 providers delivering supported employment services across 9 local authorities:

  • Brighton and Hove City Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • City of York Council
  • Croydon Council
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • Kent County Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Stockport Council
  • Telford and Wrekin Council

Each authority has an agreed profile for starts and job outcomes. Funding is based on a 30% service fee and 70% outcome payment for jobs over 16 hr/week that are sustained for 13 weeks. All the authorities are members of BASE and we are offering support to them over the 18 month period. You can read more about the background to the supported employment proof of concept trials, including the tender documents. You can also download some slides about the proof of concept.

All of the providers have to demonstrate fidelity to the Supported Employment model, either through a shortened version of BASE's Supported Employment Quality Framework or through the IPS Fidelity Scale. This has involved a process of self-assessment and external audit.

Early indications are that the payment model might help to encourage continued local investment in service provision. However, a number of issues have arisen including the reluctance of customer to jeopardise welfare benefit entitlements. BASE and NNPCF are in discussion with DWP about potential benefit flexibilities. 

It is hoped that a full trial will take place following the Proof of Concept.