Mental health service commended as Centre of Excellence

Author: Sue Cocker


The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) programme is funded by Barnet Council and delivered by London charity, Twining Enterprise, in partnership with Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust (BEH) teams. 

Barnet IPS joins just one other Centre of Excellence in the capital and 14 in the whole country. The Centre for Excellence status means Barnet partners can share its learning with other areas of England. 

The Centre of Excellence was awarded by The Centre for Mental Health, following a rigorous assessment process which found the programme successfully demonstrated its approach in helping people into work. 

The service uses a tried and tested approach which provides one-to-one support for residents and quick job searching from employment specialists within a goal of four weeks. People have a session with a Twining Employment Specialist alongside the health and social care provided within BEH teams.

One in four people have a mental health problem during their lives. More than 40 per cent of people claiming Employment Support Allowance have a mental health problem. Despite the experience being common, until recently little attention has been paid to how to help people keep or regain employment.

Nicholas was out of work for three years until he found support through the Barnet IPS service:

"I thought having a mental health condition would restrict me from choices and I had to take what I was given. My Employment Specialist has been a great help to me - giving me advice and guidance but also the choice to make my own decisions. I think this has been the biggest factor, as I used to feel like choices were a luxury I didn’t have.” 

Councillor Helena Hart, Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “We know that a lot of people with mental health problems want to find a job but don’t know where to start. This scheme offers focused support to give individuals the help they need to get back into the work place. The status is a recognition of the work that we are doing to help turn people’s lives around.”

Bob Kitchin, Chief Executive of Twining said: “The recognition of the excellence of our service is great news for us and people we support in Barnet. Some of the most disadvantaged people in the labour market can be confident of the quality of employment support they receive from Twining and BEH Trust. I’m pleased for them and extremely proud of our team – this award is recognition of the fantastic work that they are doing in Barnet.”

Maria Kane, Chief Executive of BEH NHS Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be recognised for supporting our service users who want to find a job. Not only has employment been shown to improve self-esteem it can also help recovery. In addition, employment increases activity, social interaction, identity and status – these factors have been proven to be beneficial for our physical health too.”