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Government action plan prioritises scale up of IPS employment support


August 18, 2020

Guidance for government agencies and industries working on employment initiatives

The Ministry of Social Development has published Working Matters, a new action plan to support disabled people and people with health conditions to access employment opportunities and sustainable work.

More and better employment services

The action plan sets out six priorities, one of which is “more and better employment services”.

This priority area will include scaling up integrated health and employment services, including individual placement and support for people who access mental health and addiction services.

Planned actions

From 2020 to 2022, the following actions are planned to ensure more and better employment services:

  • scale up integrated health and employment services, including individual placement and support (IPS) employment support services for people who access mental health and addiction services
  • explore opportunities to strengthen integration between primary mental health and addiction services and employment services
  • expand specialist disability employment services
  • extend the period that Supported Living Payment recipients can work more than 15 hours a week, from six months to two years (this will involve changes to legislation)
  • develop a Diploma in Employment Support
  • value diverse work outcomes and pathways to work.

“All of us have a right to equal opportunities to get a job, stay in work and reach our career aspirations.” The guiding kaupapa for the action plan makes it clear that referral and eligibility systems need to be mana enhancing and promote positive work aspirations. The plan also recognises how important it is that systems do not mistakenly create barriers to employment.

Dr Helen Lockett, strategic advisor for Work Counts says, “It is really good to have an action plan that sets out a whole of government approach to addressing the employment inequity between disabled people and people with health conditions and the general population.”

Work Count’s involvement in the draft plan

Earlier this year, Work Counts partnered with Platform Trust to provide feedback on the draft Action Plan.

“We particularly emphasised the importance of immediate scale up of integrated employment support and mental health and addiction services, and I’m delighted to see this reflected in the final action plan,” says Helen.

The Working Matters action plan aligns with the Ministry of Health’s Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Ora Aotearoa: Psychosocial and Mental Wellbeing Recovery Plan which has a focus on inclusive recovery.

The Cabinet papers indicate that a cross-agency monitoring framework, with regular reporting across agencies and through an agreed set of indicators of progress, will help support the implementation of the action plan.

Find out more

Accessible versions of Working Matters are available on the Ministry of Social Development website.

Read the Cabinet paper confirming the action plan’s cross-government work programme, and a summary of the public consultation that informed the final plan.

Download the Platform Trust and Work Counts consultation submission below.

Read related article Employment support important for psychosocial recovery


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