Sheffield City Region is running a health-led employment trial to test the effectiveness of a modified IPS (Individual Placement Support) programme. Designed to help people with physical and mental health challenges who are long-term unemployed find work or stay in work, ‘Working Win’ is one of only two such projects in the UK. It is being undertaken by the City Region, together the Work and Health Unit and supported by local authorities and regional health partners.
Working Win participants have a dedicated employment specialist working with them and can access support with health needs, finding or retaining work and support once in work.
With the many stakeholders involved in the project, including 5 Local Authorities, the service provider South Yorkshire Housing Association and others, Sheffield City Region faced the challenges of managing high volumes of incoming employment and performance data, and being able to share this in an accessible and meaningful way.
The Affinity Works solution
Evidence is key to evaluating the success of the Working Win IPS trial, so Affinity Works developed a completely bespoke solution for Sheffield City Region, to enable comparison of trial results with wider employment trends across the region and nationwide.
As well as managing business intelligence inputs around trial performance data from the multiple agencies taking part, the Affinity Works system also imports comprehensive external employment information from detailed open source contextual data. This data is highly granular, enabling Affinity Works to provide detailed national and local employment information tailored to be relevant to the project and its stakeholders.
The system then outputs user-friendly, easy to read graphical visualisations that present key performance metrics from the IPS trial in Sheffield City Region, augmented by the wider contextual data, allowing meaningful comparison and evaluation of results. Local authorities are able to compared themselves against others and can clearly understand the performance of the provide enabling effective support and challenge.
According to Tom Knight, director at Affinity Works: “The tools we have developed allow for interrogation and consumption of detailed data in a quick and efficient manner, while the modern front end presents information which is easy for stakeholders to understand and review.
Katy Pugh, Programme Support Officer explains that Affinity Works’ system has provided a consistent report each month, enabling the City Region and all stakeholders to see how provider South Yorkshire Housing Association is performing and to understand quickly what is happening across the board with the project in the Region.
“We selected Affinity Works for this contract after an open tender on the basis that they grasped what we wanted quickly and have extensive experience of the public sector,” she says.
“The Affinity Works team has been great. This is a huge project and my time is finite – they have been good a guiding us, helping us understand what we want and how to use the system and the data it provides to support that.”
Katy says the first report was presented in December 2018 at two stakeholder meetings, where the accessible visual presentation drew strong positive response.
“The stakeholders are very happy with the reports they receive,” Katy confirms. “Everyone is finding the data much more manageable and as a result are much more engaged. We all share responsibility for monitoring performance and managing the provider, and the Affinity Works system allows for that by giving everyone a consistent and comprehensive picture.”