Mental Health and Employment Partnership

MHEP is a special-purpose vehicle created by Social Finance to help replicate and expand the adoption of Individual Placement Support (IPS) practises for vulnerable populations across the UK. 

MHEP develops local partnerships with Local Authorities, NHS commissioners and IPS service providers to deliver employment support for people with severe mental illness, drug and alcohol dependence, and learning disabilities.

IPS for people with severe mental illness, was pioneered in England in the early 2000s, starting with a pilot in 1999 at the South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust. The IPS approach was originally developed in the USA where it had proved to be an effective method for supporting people with mental health conditions into employment, before being brought over to Europe through a serious of randomised control trials.

Launch of MHEP and its early history

Between 2015 and 2018, Social Finance helped commission 7 large IPS services across England, using the world’s first social impact bond (SIB) for IPS. We worked closely with commissioners, service providers and other local stakeholders to support programme mobilisation, delivery and performance management, and quality assurance.
We have also supported the dissemination of findings to build momentum for the adoption of IPS across England.

Setting up MHEP Phase 2 

In 2019/2020 Social Finance launched a second phase of MHEP contracts bringing in new local area partners and expanding the service to other cohorts in need of additional support to gain employment. The team drew on lessons from our experience with MHEP Phase 1 to build stronger contracts and partnerships. MHEP secured an additional £850k investment to launch 4 new SIBs in April 2020. These deliver employment support to people with mental illness in 3 local areas. The final SIB was the first-ever social investment into supported employment for people with learning disabilities and autistic people.

The impact of MHEP 

While we are still waiting for the final data on the full impact of MHEP, initial findings and reflections are promising. 

Related work

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