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Employment Schemes: Mental Illness

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 23980, tabled on 25 January 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of back-to-work programmes for people with mental health problems; and if he will take steps to change programmes judged to be ineffective.

Answered on

29 January 2016

Our ambition to halve the disability employment gap has been a key driver in establishing the Work and Health unit with the Department for Health. At least £115m of funding will go to the Work and Health Unit, including an innovation fund to test new ways to join up health and employment to help people with disabilities and health conditions to return to and stay in work.

Our wider employment programmes provide those with mental health conditions with the appropriate support to find work. Work Choice is an employment programme is specifically for those with a disability or health condition. Of the 14,290 starters who declared either a Severe or Mild to Moderate Mental Health condition as their Primary Disability, 6,650 (over 46%) have achieved a job outcome.

The Department conducts a monthly review of a sample of claimants from each employment contract, to assess the effectiveness of those programmes and requires providers to rectify any issues identified.

Further support is available through the Access to Work Mental Health Support Scheme. Last year, it supported 1630 people who declared a Mental Health condition as their Primary Medical Condition – a 15% increase on 2013/14 and a record number for the scheme.

Over the next three years, we are investing £43 million to develop an evidence base, via a range of voluntary trials, for what works to support people with mental health conditions into employment. Each of the voluntary trials will test a different approach of combined health and employment support.