Fair Start Scotland - individual placement and support review: findings - easy read

Easy read version of a full report including findings and recommendations of an independent review of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) in Scotland commissioned by Scottish Government and produced by Social Finance.

Fair Start Scotland : Review of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) : Easy Read


This review looked at how Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is delivered in Scotland, and what needs to be improved. IPS is a person-centred, face-to-face way to work with people who have mental ill health into employment.

It uses employment support together with health treatment to help people search for jobs that suit their needs. It also gives them support once they are in a job.

Evidence from many reviews says that supported employment, especially IPS, is the best way to support people with severe mental illnesses into good jobs.

IPS has been used to support clients with a wide range of barriers to employment, including drug and alcohol misuse, learning disabilities, autism, and a range of other chronic health issues and disabilities.

The Scottish Government included IPS delivery as part of the Fair Start Scotland programme since it started in 2018. All Service Providers are expected to offer IPS to clients who may benefit from it.

This review looked at how IPS is working in Scotland today through Fair Start Scotland. We also looked at what might need to change to make it better. The review also looked at other models of IPS that are successful.

We talked to staff who are delivering IPS and other organisations to find out what they think works and what could be better.

What we found out

1. Scotland is leading the way in offering IPS in its main employability programme.

The Scottish Government made IPS a part of their general employment programme. This shows Scottish Ministers are serious about giving the best employment support to people who need it.

2. Even though IPS is part of Fair Start Scotland, very few people get an IPS service.

Most services working on Fair Start Scotland do not offer IPS. There are only 4 IPS workers who match people to jobs in all Fair Start Scotland services.

3. Within Fair Start Scotland IPS services are not working as well as they should.

Teams that help people use IPS need to get better at working together. They need to work better with employers and give more support to people in work.

Fair Start Scotland Service Providers want to know more about IPS and how to make it work.

4. Outside of Fair Start Scotland there are examples of how IPS can work well.

Some employment support services in Scotland have done very well with IPS. These services are mostly funded by local councils, charities and Health Boards.

5. Work in other countries shows that the health system needs to be involved in IPS services.

Mental health teams need to be involved in IPS services for them to work properly. Work in other countries shows that IPS is recommended for adults

with serious and long-lasting mental health conditions.

6. Evidence shows that IPS can help people with additional barriers to work. For example, people who are not in contact with mental health services.

In England, IPS has worked well to help clients with alcohol or drug misuse issues to find work. Trials are happening in England to test IPS with a range of health and other services.

What we recommend

1. In future, IPS for people with severe mental illness should be sitting outside of Fair Start Scotland. This should come through a partnership between health and employability services.

Disabled people are far less likely to find and keep a job than people who are not disabled. We call this the disability employment gap.

If the Scottish Government is going to meet its target of reducing the disability employment gap, employability should be thought of as a health need. Scottish Government should build on the good work that local IPS services have done with local health boards.

2. IPS services within Fair Start Scotland should be better organised by strengthening the skills and abilities of teams.

Services should get better at giving IPS services. This would include working with partner organisations and with clinical teams. Staff training would be important too.

There should be clearer targets and more funding for IPS. We suggest that there should be 2 IPS Employment Specialists and a part time team leader in each Fair Start Scotland team.

3. Scotland should lead the way by offering IPS services to all clients with many health and disability-related barriers to work.

Scotland is the first nation in the UK to make IPS a part of mainstream disability employment support services.

Evidence shows that IPS is the best way to support those furthest from the labour market into work.

Delivering IPS that works will be extremely important when looking at the current employment situation in Scotland.


Email: boswell.mhonda@gov.scot

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