The performance of the Jersey Employment Trust has been rated as outstanding in an independent review conducted by experts in supported employment. In fact, their service was the most impressive the experts have seen in the UK in 30 years.
The Trust, which has been supporting islanders with a disability or long-term health condition into employment since 2002, was evaluated over a five-month period by three experts.
Dr Mark Kilsby who oversaw the Quality Assurance review of the charity alongside Julie Allan and Dr Stephen Beyer, said: “JET’s service demonstrates that it is definitely possible to develop an individualised approach that can deliver paid employment for all – even those deemed furthest from the labour market. Our analysis shows that JET is delivering a service of exceptional value for money to funders, employers and the tax payer; a service which leads to greater inclusion for workers and a high level satisfaction for its service users and those who care for them.
“The impressive outcomes were a collective result of JET’s fluid training and development services which are inextricably linked to the employment service and follow-up that people receive. These aspects most certainly represent a model of good practice which is one of the most impressive we have seen in our extensive experience of conducting research and service reviews in the area of supported employment in the UK for the past 30 years.”
Every four years, JET invites an external team of independent assessors to visit and validate the findings of its own reviews and monitoring. The internal work is undertaken by JET’s Quality Assurance manager, Sarah Boydens.
Sarah said: “We actively encourage feedback on the service, to listen to our stakeholders and have a process of ongoing improvement. In order to be a service of choice, quality assurance is embedded into daily working at JET. The JET team are responsive to feedback and strive to provide a quality person-centred service to our clients. The real test is when we have an external assessment to independently review the service. To receive an outstanding grade from experts in the field of supported employment has reinforced the importance of quality assurance processes and given the JET team the recognition they deserve in providing the quality service. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the review.”
The key findings in the report include:
- JET has succeeded at securing a high number of full-time jobs consistently over a long period across 494 different employers, representing a wide range of employment sectors and opportunities. The number of service users gaining and keeping paid jobs through JET is impressive and increased from 58 employees in 2007 to 270 in March 2018. This is significantly higher relative to comparable supported employment services in the UK that ranged from 87 – 119 for equivalent staffing levels.
- The service also secured a relatively high proportion of full-time jobs. JET has avoided the over-use of zero-hour contracts for its service users. Only 2% of all jobs secured were zero-hour contracts, compared with the Jersey average of 10%.
- Although all working age groups are represented, JET has placed an emphasis on early intervention by supporting younger people through its Transition Service, with the highest proportion of workers being aged 17 to 26 (37%).
- Possibly more important is the sustainability of these jobs. The assessment team looked at fall-out rates. Results suggested an average job fallout rate of 8% for JET’s service from 2007 to 2017. This is low compared to all UK service comparators who average 11.5%. This further reinforces findings suggesting that the service has effective follow-up and job retention procedures in place.
- There has been an increasing diversity of service users since 2007. The number of people with learning disabilities has fallen from 57% in 2007, to 27% by March 2018. There has been a significant increase in the number of people with mental health conditions, from 3% to 20%.
- Findings show that JET has successfully engaged a large number of local employers over a sustained period of time. The key to this has been the establishment of mutual partnerships, evidenced by the large number of employers engaged by JET and the willingness of many employers to offer JET service users new vacancies as they arise. Employers stated that JET was their ‘service of choice’ with 100% of employers interviewed stating they would or intend to use the JET service again, and that they would recommend the service to other employers.The employers were particularly impressed with their employees’ work ethic and emphasised that people were ‘excelling’ in their jobs.
- Thevast majority (83%) of employers said that employing a person through JET had improved the workplace and changed people’s attitudes to people with disabilities for the better.
- Many service users said that they would still be unemployed without JET’s assistance. They too rated the quality of the support from JET as outstanding and highly valued by them. JET’s intervention has had a very positive impact on their lives, their personal happiness, financial independence, psychological and physical well-being.
- The review found that during 2017, the per capita cost of JET’s employment service was £2,335 per person per annum. This is considerably lower than all four UK supported employment service comparators. The report shows that the service is providing very good value for money for the Jersey taxpayer: The net savings to the Jersey taxpayer was between £5,000 and £16,400 per person per annum for every person JET placed into employment.
The QA review also made 32 recommendations, for which JET already has a comprehensive action plan. These include areas of work such as internal IT systems and a period of consolidation at Acorn Enterprises. It also recommends a continuing focus on early intervention strategies to enable more young people to make the transition from education into work at an early age.
JET executive officer Jocelyn Butterworth said that she was delighted with the review.
Jocelyne said: “For me, the key thing is what the clients say in terms of the quality of the service. The outcome of the review is testament to the hard work of the whole staff team and the work of our quality assurance manager Sarah Boydens. We work hard year-round to improve our service because we provide a service to vulnerable people but, there is always room for improvement and it’s good to have a critical friend.”