Only one third of the money invested in schemes to help people with mental health problems and/or learning disabilities into work goes to approaches known to make an effective difference, a study has found.
Research by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) identified a significant variability in the cost of employment support services and costs per job outcome achieved that cannot be explained by factors such as complexity of people’s disability or size of service.
It also found that there is good evidence Individual Placement and Support (in mental health services) and supported employment (in learning disability services) are the most effective ways of supporting people to achieve paid work outcomes. But there is little or no evidence to support other service models currently being used by commissioners.
Rob Greig, chief executive of NDTi, said: “For the first time we know how much commissioners are investing in what kinds of support for disabled people to get or keep work.
“Unfortunately, only a third of the money is currently invested in approaches we know will make an effective difference. At the same time, it looks like commissioners are starting to disinvest in employment support because of the financial pressures they are under.
“Far from being a reason to continue to disinvest, though, our findings show that far better employment outcomes can be achieved for disabled people if money is used wisely. Not only this, but supporting disabled people to work also results in an overall positive effect on the public purse because of a reduced reliance on care services.
“We encourage everyone with a stake in good employment outcomes for disabled people to look at the research and use its practical findings to make things better in their local area.”