by Anita Wilkins, Bill Love, Rob Greig and Helen Bowers
Supporting disabled people into paid work is a policy priority for local authorities, and commissioners need evidence on which to base investment decisions. The NIHR School for Social Care Research (SSCR) commissioned the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) to carry out a scoping review to see what economic evidence is currently available within published literature. The review particularly focuses on two client groups: people with learning disability and those with mental health problems.
The review found that the field of employment support in the UK is currently characterised by a complex, interrelated array of approaches, pilots and schemes, which frame the issue in a variety of ways. In order to present evidence relating to these different approaches, we grouped them into six main categories and presented them in tabulated format, referencing any related economic evidence found for each approach.
We found that there is a limited body of economic evidence, mainly focussing on particular kinds of employment support e.g. Supported Employment, and Individual Placement and Support (IPS). The evidence is often comparative (e.g. forms of cost-benefit analysis) rather than absolute (e.g. looking at cost-effectiveness, and how many successful job outcomes can be expected for a given financial input). There are also many gaps and inconsistencies in the evidence, compounded by variable and liberal interpretation of certain models as practiced, particularly Supported Employment.
The review concludes by making a number of recommendations for future study, and raising further questions that need answering in order to help local authorities commission effective support.
Read the full scoping review (PDF).