Over 25,000 long term ill and disabled people supported into work with £58m boost

More than 25,000 people with health conditions will be helped to start and stay in work thanks to over £58m in new government funding

Over 25,000 long term ill and disabled people supported into work with £58m boost

  • New funding to support over 25,000 people in England with health issues find and stay in work
  • 12 areas across 41 local authorities in England to benefit from additional employment support
  • Funding marks first step in delivery of Universal Support and key part of efforts to reduce economic inactivity and grow the economy

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP, today (11 June) confirmed the expansion of a programme which provides employment support to people with mild to moderate mental or physical health conditions who are out of work or need support to stay in work.

Recognising employment as an important driver of health and wellbeing, participants are referred to the service by healthcare professionals such as GPs and practice nurses, and employment support and advice are integrated with their normal health treatment.

As well as unlocking people’s potential and supporting them into a fulfilling career, a successful workforce will help deliver on Government’s priorities to halve inflation and grow the economy.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP said:

“We know that work has a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing and this pioneering programme will help thousands more people reap the benefits of fulfilling employment with the right help.

“This is a significant milestone in our commitment to invest in employment support for people with health conditions. Through the reforms we set out earlier this year, we will continue to provide even more inclusive employment opportunities across the country as part of our efforts to unlock people’s potential and grow the economy.”

The first phase of the Individual Placement and Support in Primary Care (IPSPC) programme, launched in April 2023, providing on-the-job “place and train” employment support and advice to 12,700 people across South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, West London, Norfolk, Cheshire West and Chester, and West Midlands, at a cost of £27.9 million.

We are now expanding IPSPC to support up to a further 12,900 people in Enfield, Essex, Newham, Nottingham, Slough and Surrey who are set to benefit from an additional £31 million joint investment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

This is part of the first phase of the DWP’s Universal Support employment programme, announced in the Spring Budget.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Tom Pursglove MP said:

“In our Health and Disability White Paper we highlighted the importance of employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions, so it is absolutely right to expand the proven successful model of supported employment further.

“I’m delighted that we’re already seeing this approach boost participants’ employment prospects, wellbeing, self-confidence, and motivation to return to work.

“What we learn from supporting people through IPSPC will pave the way to Universal Support, which, when fully rolled out will offer people personalised support to help them flourish in work.”

Health Minister, Maria Caulfield, said:

“This expanded funding is a vital part of our drive to support disabled people and those with health conditions who deserve to live independently. This also includes our £573 million annual Disabled Facilities Grant, which funds housing modifications such as grab rails and ramps to improve independent living at home.

“We are also inviting views on how the government can better diagnose and support those with major health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases or mental ill-health, which will inform our Major Conditions Strategy later this year.”

Andrew Beardsall, Associate Director of Primary Care at NHS Bassetlaw Place, Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board, said:

“The expansion of IPSPC is great for patients and for primary care professionals.

“GPs often report that in trying to deal with patients physical and mental health issues they are often only treating a small part of their patients’ overall problems, which cannot be tackled in isolation.

“IPSPC offers the chance to break the spiral between ill health, employment and quality of life. It is simply a good idea and warmly welcomed”

It is estimated the programme will help over 25,000 people secure or retain employment by March 2025 by offering them personalised employment support and advice integrated with their normal health treatment.

Additional information

  • IPSPC represents the first step in delivery of Universal Support, a supported employment programme which will support at least 50,000 disabled people and people with health conditions per year into sustained work from 2025/26, using the proven “place and train” employment model.
  • Eligible people will be able to opt into Universal Support to receive up to 12 months of support, helping them to move quickly into suitable work and followed with wraparound support to help them to sustain that employment for the longer-term.
  • IPSPC is an extension of the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) programme, another example of supported employment targeting people with more severe health conditions in secondary care settings, such as hospitals.
  • The expansion of IPSPC follows evaluation research into IPS in South Yorkshire and the West Midlands, which found the IPS approach boosted participants’ employment prospects, wellbeing, self-confidence, and motivation to return to work.
  • “Place and train” employment models like IPS and IPSPC see participants receive a job from the outset, learning as they go rather than having to train before being allowed to start employment.
  • The first phase of IPSPC, which launched this year, will support around 12,700 people across six areas and 30 local authorities, South Yorkshire (Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham), Greater Manchester (Manchester City, Bolton, Bury, Tameside, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Trafford, Wigan), the West London Alliance (Ealing, Barnet, Brent, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow), Norfolk, Cheshire West and Chester, and West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton), at a cost of £27.9m,
  • The expansion will cover a further 12,900 people across six more areas and 11 local authorities, Enfield, Essex, Newham (Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets), Nottingham (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby), Slough and Surrey.
  • The majority of participants found the service boosted their confidence, job search capability, and motivation to return to work.

Department for Work and Pensions