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 ran until May 2019. It involved 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 had an agreed profile for starts and job outcomes. Funding was 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 provided 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 had 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 involved a process of self-assessment and external audit.

We hoped that the payment model might help to encourage continued local investment in service provision. However, it became clear that the payment by results model used was not appropriate. A number of other issues arose, including the reluctance of customers to jeopardise welfare benefit entitlements. 

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