Welfare to Work

– Kennedy Scott to launch US style welfare-to-work

Kennedy Scott to launch US style welfare-to-work programme in Britain

News Release

Embargo: 9th May 2011


On the 9th May, the launch of a report, “Welfare to Work in the 21st Century” published by PKF, the leading accountancy firm and the University of Portsmouth will recommend that the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) pilot an innovative US welfare-to-work programme developed by America Works, a US welfare-to-work provider. America Works has successfully placed 200,000 previously unemployed US citizens in employment, primarily the hardest to help – ex servicemen, offenders, disabled and long-term unemployed.

Kennedy Scott, a UK welfare-to- work provider and America Works and are talking with the DWP and Ministry of Justice to develop a pilot programme that will seek to replicate America Works’ success here in the UK.

Kennedy Scott is one of the first providers in the UK to embrace outcome driven payment, and has a track record of successfully working with local business to ensure its clients meet local business’s needs and expectation.  Its pre-employment and holistic support programmes are exemplars of UK best practice.

Central to America Works’ model is performance based payment, with no up-front fee, stepped payments at 30-60-90-180 weeks, and the largest payment near the end. Its commitment to mentor and support clients through their first months of employment has produced some of the most productive and loyal employees. About two–thirds remain employed three years later and not costing the US government $40,000 a year in benefits. America Work is committed to the work first principle: that an unemployed person be compelled into the programme as soon as they are out of work, and then building in education and training to move them along,

Kennedy Scott and America Works share an entrepreneurial spirit, and a can-do approach that is set to create a new standard and code of practice for the welfare-to-work industry. And not before time.

GMB analysis of the most recent official figures released shows that one in five workers aged 16-24 is unemployed. Lewisham tops the league with 35.4 % youth unemployment followed by Westminster 34.7%, and Hackney 34.6%.  London had the highest proportion of economically active young workers out of work at 23.4%, followed by North East and Wales 22.3 %, North West 21.6% and West Midlands 20.9%.

Teresa Scott, founder and CEO of Kennedy Scott says,

“As a small, local based welfare- to-work provider, Kennedy Scott have spearheaded collaboration with local business and proved how this model can bring about sustained employment for the hardest to help and benefit local business with a no-cost, high quality recruitment and HR service. The new Work Programme is designed to promote creativity and innovation and gives exceptional scope and flexibility for us to build on and refine our model. Visiting an America Works programme last year I found a place full of hope and energy with clients motivated and committed to their own success. Here in the UK we’ve got a long way to go before our clients regard the Job Centre as a departure lounge for employment, career planning, training, mentoring and prosperity, but it’s a journey Kennedy Scott and America Works are determined to take with the support of DWP.”


Peter Cove, founder and CEO of America Works says:

“ In their hearts people want to work. It will take time for the culture to change in the UK and you will have to get much tougher. But more tragedy has occurred by us allowing people to become dependent on the government that you would ever expect by asking people to go to work.  The UK government’s latest pronouncement is music to our ears. The Government appears to be adopting the two main planks of America Works’ success: the stick approach to welfare and the pay-for-results model. However, I am worried about the pace. A typical unemployed person will be compelled into the programme only once they have been on the dole for 12 months. Moving them quickly into work and then building the education and training to move them along is what works best. We believe very strongly that work is a great socialiser. It gives people a sense of worth. To us, that is so important and so lacking in many of the people coming to America Work’s and Kennedy Scott’s offices.”

The Report highlights the results achieved by America Works and Kennedy Scott.

The Report takes a broad view of the changing nature of the welfare landscape and the labour market, and the importance of innovative and outcome driven providers of welfare-to-work services. Focused on best practice providers in the US and UK, the Report makes the following recommendations:

  • The Government should consider funding assistance to work programmes for those who are going to be made redundant before they are formally unemployed. Such provision should be pro-active, particularly for hard-to-employ groups.
  • The Government should recognise that best practice is for contractors to have a presence in job centres and should facilitate and encourage such a presence to enable assistance to be provided as early as possible.
  • The Government should review the experience of JobStat and VendorStat[1] in New York with a view to developing such a model in the UK.
  • The Government should continue to support assisted employment for people with disabilities, particularly through models such as Workchoice and Remploy and ensure such employment provides opportunities for them to secure a wide range of positions according to their talents.
  • Given the success of Kennedy Scott and America Works with certain hard-to employ groups and the attractiveness of their outcomes based payment regime to the public purse, the Government should consider setting up pilots with a variety of hard-to-employ groups to be based upon a system of outcome based payments.
  • The Government should consider setting up pre-employment programmes to identify the best possible practice in this area.
  • The Government should publish a comprehensive strategy to counter fraud and error in the Work Programme, building on developments to date and should clearly identify appropriate resources within its Fraud Investigation Service to implement it.
  • The Government should robustly monitor the sub-contracting market to ensure that competition and innovation are maximised. If weaknesses do emerge in the process the Government should consider a much more open competitive process in the future.

The Report also examines key governance issues relating to service providers, outlining evidence of abuse. It argues for a clear DWP strategy concerning governance issues, specific DWP staff focussed on this area, and specific strategies to address governance issues and related problems.

Paul Kenny, Secretary General, GMB says:

“GMB is looking at how best to support both our members who are facing redundancy as the public sector cuts bite and those suffering the scourge of long term unemployment. We welcome the idea of pilots across the country to evaluate how best to do this. We want to support those who find themselves unemployed back into permanent work with real employers and not just put on more job search schemes. Assisting the unemployed back to work is about delivering long- term stable employment. This is far too important to be run as a revolving door numbers game.”

The Report’s authors, Dr Mark Button, a Reader at University of Portsmouth and Jim Gee, a Director of PKF conclude that the Work Programme should embrace the learning’s from best practice service providers in the UK and US and propose a series of pilots following the America Works model with a variety of hard to help groups based on a system of outcome driven payments.

Jim Gee, a Director at PKF says:

“The country is facing the biggest change to the welfare system in 50 years and the new Work Programme will see up to 3.2million people (6.3% of the adult population) go through its doors over the next five years. This is equivalent to around 400,000 people in London alone. Not to do our best by those people would be indefensible.“

The Report, Welfare to Work in the 21st Century was commissioned by the GMB Union and sponsored by Kennedy Scott.

–          ends –

Notes to Editors

Kennedy Scott Ltd: Key Facts

  • Provided Welfare to Work programmes for 21 years supporting thousands of customers into sustainable work.
  • In 2008, KS won the ESF/DWP “LO13 Hardest to Help” contract (Brent and Harrow) and in the past 2 years has supported 400 customers, with multiple barriers to employment into sustainable jobs on a 70% outcome based contract model.
  • Expects this success rate to rise as it continues to build its reputation amongst employers through high profile proactive communications and tailored pre-employment that reinforce the benefits and cost savings to local business
  • Delivers Flexible New Deal in Kent with 46% JER over the last 6 months and strong performance (79%) in sustainability.
  • Holistic delivery model cited by OFSTED in March 2010 as an example of best practice for the ‘Hardest to Help’ client groups,
  • Designed and delivered the Metropolitan Police Service Pre-employment programme leading to 60% PCSO job outcomes for women and Black and Minority Ethnic groups (BAME) clients. Winning the National Training Award – London, 2006.
  • London Development Agency London Knowledge Programme for BME groups and Women Drivers. Of those qualified all 100% are still in work.
  • Security Industry Training Awards for outstanding practice by a Provider in 2006.
  • Won a National Training award 2007 for their hardest-to-help programme aimed at customers with multiple barriers to work.

America Works: Key Facts

  • Foremost US agency and market leader in performance based, outcome only contracting.
  • Since 1984, America Works has placed more than 200,000 men and women into jobs including military veterans, long-term welfare and food stamp recipients, former criminal offenders, people who are homeless and living in shelters, youths aging out of foster care, non-custodial parents, people living with HIV/AIDS, and people receiving SSI/SSDI.
  • Funded by HNW social entrepreneur
  • Special citation from the Department of Employment for the City of New York for achieving 100% of its programs’ performance goals
  • Won The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

For more information and to request interviews please contact:

Lisa ter Haar


Mobile: 07973 819 395

Emma Allen

Office: 020 7034 1800

Date: May 2011

[1] JobStat is a performance management support initiative to facilitate robust management of New York’s Job Centres. The JobStat programme provides local managers with performance data to which they are held accountable. VendorStat publishes monthly data showing results of job placement and job retention statistics from its contractors.


  1. I totally agree with what A4e Protest say’s

  2. This article describes Kennedy Scott as ,” a UK welfare-to- work provider”. Surely this is a typo and it should read “Kennedy Scott is a UK welfare-to-workfare provider”.

    Who would ever imagine that unemployment could be such a lucrative business. The unemployed are bought and sold, commodity trading?

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