Humankind expands successful IPS service

Jack Keery

A worker lifts boxes onto a shelf in a warehouse

Funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care, and backed by Public Health England, the Humankind STARS (Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service) was one of the first areas to deliver IPS (Individual Placement and Support) in community drug and alcohol treatment, from 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021. Humankind has subsequently been awarded new contracts to deliver IPS in Leeds, South Tyneside and Gateshead, and Cumbria, while continuing our work in Staffordshire.

IPS is a ground-breaking employment programme which provides people with intensive support to find stable employment tailored to their individual needs.

STARS oversaw 87 enrolments into the IPS service during this time, with 55% of those subsequently finding suitable employment, despite the extra challenges faced by jobseekers throughout the pandemic.

While warehouse logistics and customer service/retail positions comprised the majority of those obtained by STARS’s IPS participants over the last financial year, job starts also spanned industries like health and social care, driving, administration/legal, production, trade, and cleaning.

The Staffordshire scheme even secured a stable self-employment route for a participant who needed to fit working hours around their family life after years of being paid in beer and food working in the “grey economy” with no permanent address.

It is hoped that the successful rollout of the IPS scheme within Humankind’s drug and alcohol services in Leeds, South Tyneside and Gateshead, and Cumbria will have a transformative impact on our ability to provide employment support to people who access them, while underlining the need for a multifaceted approach to treatment.

Humankind CEO, Paul Townsley, said:

“The success of STARS’s IPS work embodies Humankind’s mission to help people tackle their drug and alcohol use, not just through treatment, but also by paying attention to the social and economic factors which may hamper their road to recovery.”

Rosanna O’Connor, Director of PHE’s Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Inclusion Health Division, said:

“We’ve seen over the last few years the transformative effect of helping people into jobs that they want to do. This can include financial independence, improved health and wellbeing, and the chance to develop supportive social networks.

“The expansion of Individual Placement and Support will enable more people to access this intensive, skilled but, above all, client-led form of employment support.”

Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince, said:

“We know that drug and alcohol users in existing treatment, along with other disadvantaged groups, can face additional barriers when looking for work.

“The IPS scheme clearly shows people’s prospects of finding work can be improved, which in turn can lead to sustained recovery from drug use.

“We are delighted to be working with Humankind STARS to increase the availability of this highly personalised and intensive employment support in Staffordshire, and across the UK.”

IPS has eight key characteristics that distinguish it from most other forms of employment support:

  1. Paid employment secured in the competitive job market is the goal.
  2. It is open to all those who want to work.
  3. It aims to support people to find work that matches their preferences and interests.
  4. Job search and contact with employers are initiated quickly, within 4 weeks.
  5. IPS is embedded in and integrated with the treatment services.
  6. The IPS specialists engage directly with employers, building relationships to benefit their clients.
  7. It provides individualised unlimited support to the participant and their employer.
  8. Participants are given expert advice around welfare benefits to enable them to make informed decisions about work.

 

A worker lifts boxes onto a shelf in a warehouse
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