The Work Counts team is made up of respected experts in the IPS field who have sector-wide and international relationships. These include leading development centres, including the IPS Employment Center (USA), the Centre for Mental Health (UK) and the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (Australia).
We are a passionate team who believe that employment supports recovery and brings benefits for people, employers and the health system when people are able to retain or return to work.
The International IPS Learning Community
In December 2017, New Zealand joined the International IPS Learning Community to improve our implementation of evidence-based practices in employment support, to learn from other countries, and to share experiences. The process of joining the community was led by Work Counts, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Development.
The learning community has evolved over the past 16 years and now has members from the United States, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Canada, England and New Zealand.
The community includes IPS trainers, mental health leaders, family leaders and employers who all work together to better the way employment support services operate to improve people’s lives.
Meet the team
Dr Helen Lockett
Helen started her career as an employment specialist in the UK and is now one of the world’s leading researchers in the IPS approach.
Helen’s passion for making a difference is evident in the work she does within the health and welfare sectors. She provides policy advice for government agencies, the OECD and NGOs across New Zealand. She is also an international associate for the Centre for Mental Health (UK). Other strategic work includes leadership of the Equally Well initiative since 2014.
In 2019 Helen completed her doctorate with the University of Auckland on improving evidence-based practices in employment support for people who experience mental health and addiction issues.
Highly skilled at translating evidence into practice for organisations and practitioners, she enjoys seeing the positive benefits that employment brings for people and communities.
An experienced chief executive, Warren has spent over 20 years designing and leading employment support services and is regularly called upon to share his knowledge and expertise.
Originally a social worker and employment specialist, he is an agent for change and enjoys taking a creative approach to making a difference within the sector.
Warren believes that it is important to support and make links between organisations that share a passion for seeing improvements in the lives of New Zealanders, particularly those who experience mental distress and addiction issues.
“It is an exciting time to be involved in the sector – working together provides the opportunity to make positive change for the future”, he says.
Strategic advisor and fidelity reviewer
Richard started his career as a nurse and has extensive experience in the mental health sector across Australasia. For the last ten years Richard has led a successful employment support team in Auckland.
Richard is skilled in quality assessment and service establishment and was a key player in implementing employment support for Auckland District Health Board.
He has a passion to see people with lived experience of mental health issues achieve their goals and believes that everyone has a right to full participation within their community.
Senior communications and engagement advisor
As well as experience in the social services sector, Naomi’s background includes working in local government – using arts and culture as a tool for community wellbeing, expression and resilience. She has led identity development, strategic communications and engagement approaches for complex projects and services.
Naomi enjoys using design thinking to find solutions that make our work easier and better, and crafting clear communication to reach more people.
Megan has provided employment support in mental health services for over ten years, initially as an employment consultant and more recently as an employment support team leader. Megan is contracted by Work Counts from time to time, to undertake fidelity reviews.
Megan loves seeing people grow and develop in their lives – whether that’s through working with people directly, or in leading a team of employment consultants – she wants her work to make a difference. Fidelity reviews bring another aspect to this – helping others in making a difference too.
Kate has worked in the NGO and Government sectors in New Zealand for more than ten years. She has had several community development roles working with vulnerable residents to improve their living standards.
Kate has also implemented, managed and evaluated individual placement and support (IPS) employment services to help people with complex needs gain competitive and sustainable employment. Most recently, she has managed projects across Government to ensure workers are mentally and physically healthy and safe.
Kate's career has been driven by her passion for human-centred design – to create meaningful and relevant services with people who need them.
Moana currently works at Te Pou, part of the Wise Group whānau, following many years spent working within a supported employment service provider.
Moana’s beginnings were in a business support role, providing backbone operations support to employment consultants integrated into community mental health services in Auckland. Following this, as a business support manager, her main portfolio of work was around data – how it can provide insight into how services are performing and where improvements can be made.
Moana is skilled in quality assessments and deeply understands the fundamental building blocks of the IPS approach. In her role as a fidelity reviewer for Work Counts, she has a huge passion and drive to see those with mental health issues gain meaningful employment. She loves seeing people being fully involved in their lives and communities.
By identifying her strengths and skills and focusing on a tailored approach, Angela’s employment and mental health team were able to get her back into work within a year.
Anne had a successful career and had never been out of employment, when suddenly her circumstances changed and she was facing a criminal conviction and mental health challenges.
The intensity of this model really sets it apart. It’s a collaborative, community endeavour that achieves great results.
When the Northland District Health Board (DHB) had the opportunity to establish a pilot employment programme within its mental health and addiction service they knew it was important to use an evidence-based model that was proven to work.
Work Counts supported the DHB to develop an agile model of care, where the service works closely with local community providers to find employment solutions that work for everyone involved. Staff already understood the value of employment as part of recovery and rehabilitation, but needed help with training, implementation and integration of the IPS method within clinical services.
“Work Counts gave us guidance around establishment plans, recruitment and supervision of staff, as well as on-site support to coach new staff through tricky situations that made some employment situations challenging. Working with experienced employment specialists helped clarify how we planned and implemented the service, and set up ongoing monitoring and evaluation to measure its success.”
General manager, Mental Health and Addiction Services
Northland District Health Board
To ensure employment is a priority for people who access mental health services you need a plan that engages everyone right across the health system.
Quality improvement was top of mind when Nelson Marlborough Health approached Work Counts about how it could improve its supported independent living work stream.
Facilitated focus groups illhttps://www.nmdhb.govt.nz/ustrated the importance of the need for targeted supported employment for people accessing our services, and their families. The process gave clear and practical guidance, and the momentum to improve our approach to keeping employment top of mind and a key part of people’s wellness plan.
“We learned that although we were doing aspects of the Individualised Placement Support framework, we still had a way to go. We want our service to help people reach their potential, and that needs more than one passionate person to make it happen. The IPS approach helps secure employment for people by helping to guide how our services can work together in a more integrated way. The more our system is integrated, the more we work as one team with one care/wellness plan – the better it is for the person at the centre.”
General manager, Mental Health, Addictions and Disability Support Services
Nelson Marlborough Health