UK’s First Exemplary Quality Mark awarded to Southampton City Council’s Individual Placement and Support Service

27 September 2022

The Southampton Individual Placement and Support Service (IPS) has become the first IPS team in the country to be awarded an “Exemplary” IPS quality mark, following an external review.

As part of Southampton City Council’s Employment Support Team and working in partnership with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, this excellent service is available to support people, referred from Southern Health’s community mental health teams, who express an interest in paid employment. The team work alongside mental health professionals to help people to gain sustainable employment, or retain their existing job, to assist with their recovery. 

The quality of each IPS service is monitored by IPS fidelity reviews which are an intensive, two-day process. Fidelity reviews involve external reviewers conducting interviews with clients, referrers, and staff, along with observations, and a review of the outcomes achieved by the team. In addition to delivering a high-quality service, the Southampton IPS team have assisted with over 340 job outcomes since the service began in 2016, with 2021-22 being the most successful year for job placements so far with over 89 securing a job compared to 61 between 2020-21.

Emma Dalwood, IPS Manager said “We are exceptionally proud of the outcome of our recent review; to have been award the highest possible category for this quality mark is testament to the excellent relationships we develop with clients and employers to not only find and secure a job, but also in the months after employment to ensure they are able to retain that job. We have been supporting clients obtain work in such a diverse range of employment areas from sales consultants to bakery assistants, PAs, projection assistants, HGV Driver, Kitchen Assistant, Children’s Practitioner to Funeral Arranger; something our clients and staff are immensely proud of”. 

Gregory, originally from Southampton, who received support from the IPS service, said:

“Southampton’s Employment Support Team has been unbelievable; they worked with me at my pace, shoulder to shoulder with me, with no pressure. I felt supported all the time, giving me a chance to get well and look for employment and training opportunities. I didn’t feel talked to or judged, I felt the freedom to find my own way, with their support whether that be support for education and courses, as well as looking for work I was interested in. They were an outstanding ally in my recovery journey.”

IPS Team Photo.jpg

Councillor Lorna Fielker Cabinet Member for Health, Adults and Leisure, said “The ‘Exemplary’ quality mark is a fantastic achievement for our IPS team, whose dedication and hard work has been recognised with this award. That it is the first time the ‘Exemplary’ award has been given in the country further underlines how exceptional our team, and the people they support, are.”

The Southampton IPS team are looking forward to building upon this fantastic score and assisting even more people to achieve their employment goals. For more information, please visit: 

Southern Health are now planning to launch this employment placement and support service across the rest of Hampshire. For more information, please visit the website:

Individual Placement and Support Team (IPS) :: Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust


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