In June 2022, the Welsh Government appointed Learning and Work Institute to evaluate the latest phase of their In-Work Support Service (IWS). The evaluation started in July 2022 and was completed in October 2022. It follows an initial evaluation of IWS published in April 2019.The objectives were to tackle poverty and social exclusion through sustainable employment in parts of North and South Wales.
IWS took a preventative approach that was intended to curb job losses resulting from work-limiting health conditions or disabilities by early intervention. The operation supported and offered individuals rapid free access to a range of practical, personalised support and therapies to address personal barriers such as mental health issues and physical health symptoms related to muscle and joint pain which are impacting on their ability to work. IWS also provided enterprise support which consisted of free advice, guidance, training, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises based in the delivery areas to develop and implement a workplace health programme to promote workplace well-being.
The wider policy context has changed significantly since IWS started in 2015; The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people’s health and the labour market, and the subsequent cost of living crisis, meant that providing support for people with health conditions to return to and stay in work is an increasingly important part of the employability landscape.