DDN_March_2024 DDN March 2024 | Page 20



Individual Placement and Support Into Work is delivering transformative results for drug and alcohol services , say Kim Archer , Professor Adam Whitworth and Rebecca Odedra

Since 2019 , Via ’ s award-winning Individual Placement and Support ( IPS ) Into Work service has supported people with experience of drug or alcohol issues into sustainable employment across West London .

An external evaluation of the service was recently conducted by the University of Strathclyde covering the period January 2019 to March 2022 . The study combined a quantitative analysis of data from 718 clients with 27 qualitative interviews , carried out primarily with Via team members , co-located drug and alcohol service staff , and IPS clients .
Over the next two pages we hear from three key stakeholders about the importance of ( IPS ) for people with substance issues , and why the evaluation has been so crucial in helping the service go from strength to strength .
Kim Archer , IPS lead at West London Alliance Why did we apply for funding to deliver an IPS service for people with experience of drug and alcohol issues ? I ’ ve worked with a range of people who ’ ve fallen out of mainstream society and found it hard to step back in . It was difficult for them to stabilise their lives and make their aspirations – such as a long-term home , stable relationships and improved wellbeing – a reality . That ’ s the heart of what I have to say .
But my head said , we spend a significant amount of money on treatment and recovery and the consequences of addiction in A & E , prisons and with children in care . One of the key planks to achieving sustained recovery and reintegration is growing self-esteem , earning money and having wider sets of relationships through work and social interaction .
But any support to deliver
health and work outcomes needed to be scaled and replicated . I also knew this would be better delivered by people familiar with the ups and downs of people in recovery .
I ’ d previously commissioned an IPS service for people with mental health issues so when I read Professor Dame Carol Black ’ s Independent review of drugs recommend that IPS be trialled with people with experience of drug and alcohol issues , I was very keen to find ways of funding a service .
We achieved this through intensive collaboration and compromise . Gaining additional funding for people with drug and alcohol issues is not easy , as other groups of people can be seen as more ‘ deserving ’. But we were successful in applying to the Life Chances Fund ( LCF ), which allowed us to create a social impact bond . This paid for the running of the service
while different outcomes were funded by some eight London boroughs , seven NHS CCGs and Jobcentre Plus .
If this sounds complicated , it was – especially as shortly after the service started COVID presented more challenges . Part of the agreement for LCF funding included undertaking an evaluation , and this is where it gets interesting . While we had fewer participants than expected initially , even during COVID 30 per cent of them found work . In some boroughs , 38 per cent of clients found work .
We ’ ve learnt so much from this evaluation . But key , from a commissioner point of view , is that it ’ s not enough to leave it to well-trained frontline teams to set up and deliver the service . You need a systems approach . All the organisations involved at all relevant governance levels need to understand and support service delivery .