Can DWP providers force you to use Universal Jobmatch clones like myworksearch.co.uk and www.avantajobs.com?

Universal Jobmatch (UJ) and consent

It is self-evident that Universal Jobmatch (UJ) can be and is used to facilitate benefit sanctions and total  loss of benefits. This as such is the principle reason the Information Commissioners Office requires that the DWP must obtain users permission (consent)
to access their UJ account.

Clones of UJ

Even so, compulsory DWP Work Programme (WP) and Community Workfare Placement (CWP) workfare providers have created clones of UJ, to undertake supervised Jobsearch.

Against this background, suppliers of these clones and DWP providers have a vested interest not to explicitly inform WP and CWP conscripted participants,  that like UJ, it seems apparent that use and therefore registration with these clones is voluntary. This can be said to be particularly true as these clones are set up so that DWP provider and hence DWP access to user accounts personal data is switched on by default, without any user option or inbuilt safeguard to stop this access in any way.

With this level of default access the DWP and DWP providers are free to use the personal data within these clones to arrange benefit sanctions that can last up to 3 years, as well as completely end entitlement to benefits like Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Examples of Jobmatch clones

MyWorkSearch
“You can also log in and check the extent to which any individual has ­ or has not ­ been learning how to look for work and actively job-searching. You can interact with jobseekers, monitoring tasks as well as suggesting jobs and activities and providing assistance. Most importantly, using the MyWorkSearch data, you can focus your help where it is really needed.” [all of which can be used to facilitate benefit sanctions]
http://www.myworksearch.co.uk/housing-associations/

http://www.avantajobs.com
“Work Programme participants are not mandated to use http://www.avantajobs.com and can therefore choose not to use this site…. If a participant wishes to stop using the website they can do so….where personal data is loaded onto http://www.avantajobs.com DWP remains the data controller…” [owner]
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/181920/response/443194/attach/html/3/5028%20Response.pdf.html
From: DWP Central FoI Team  – 24 October 2011
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/22/avantajobs/

Tips

If asked to register and use, by DWP providers, websites like http://www.avantajobs.com and MyWorkSearch, ask for the request to be put in writing and tell them to also say in writing what would happen if you did not register or use them and do ask them to write who would have access to the personal data uploaded or created within any account, explicitly asking them to say in any written response whether the DWP and DWP providers would have access.

Resources

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#DoNotSign Work Programme documents, a very good example of www.avantajobs.com

[updated 24 Oct 13]

Work Programme Provider Avanta has created a clone of Universal Jobmatch (UJ) called Avanta Jobs (AJ), unlike UJ, AJ does not appear to give the choice of not giving permission for anyone voluntarily using or mandated to use AJ of not allowing Avanta staff full or read only access to an account users activity and personal data. What is also not made clear is that all personal data entered onto AJ belongs to the DWP as the Data Controller.

“Work Programme participants are not mandated to use www.avantajobs.com and can therefore choose not to use this site…. If a participant wishes to stop using the website they can do so….where personal data is loaded onto www.avantajobs.com DWP remains the data controller…[owner]
(Emphasis added)
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/181920/response/443194/attach/html/3/5028%20Response.pdf.html
From: DWP Central FoI Team  – 24 October 2011

Q: If the Avanta Work Programme Customer Agreement form is not signed, does Avanta have any authority to mandate use, registration and uploading personal data to avantajobs.com?

A: A recent set of FOI disclosures of Avanta correspondence with the DWP* (see note below) clearly indicated the authority to view a AJ user’s account comes via the signing of it’s ‘Customer Agreement’ (CA) form, needless to say this suggests not signing the CA could make it impossible for Avanta to mandate:

1. Creating a AJ account
2. Uploading personal data, such as a CV onto AJ
3. Avanta having access to a user’s personal data on AJ

The authority [consent] for this [user account access by Avanta] comes from the signed Work Programme Customer Agreement form
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/180551/response/442313/attach/html/5/Attachment%202%204848.pdf.html
From: Avanta Dwp Communications, via DWP Freedom of Information – 22 October 2013

Debate and discuss at:
http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/chat-a-rap/7353-avanta-and-its-universal-jobmatch-doppelgaenger

Related FOI response:

Q: “Whilst on the Work Programme, Can I be mandated to sign any forms given by my provider, this includes, Action Plans and Monthly Review documents”?

A:there is no mandatory requirement for individuals to sign specific forms
From: DWP Central Freedom of Information Team – 26.03.13
http://refuted.org.uk/category/donotsign/

*Comment: All Work Programme Providers are subject to the Freedom of Information Act
http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/19/yourinformation/

More on the #DoNotSign principle:
http://refuted.org.uk/category/donotsign/
Background information:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130329160436/http://www.donotsign.com/

Notes: Welfare rights law and DWP guidance, in particular, changes frequently.
You may find more recent information via http://refuted.org.uk/category/ or by using the website search facility (top right)