Can DWP providers force you to use Universal Jobmatch clones like and

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

“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]
“Work Programme participants are not mandated to use 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 DWP remains the data controller…” [owner]
From: DWP Central FoI Team  – 24 October 2011


If asked to register and use, by DWP providers, websites like 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.



DWP Providers say: “Sign here or face Benefit Sanctions” True or False?

Despite DWP providers, of mandatory Jobcentre schemes, often demanding participants sign documents like Action Plans, Consent and Personal Data sharing forms or face Benefit Sanctions, this is not likely to have any legal basis when a scheme participant is willing to undertake suitably mandated activities, but simply declines to sign documents.

Recently the DWP wrote:

“There is no mandatory requirement for individuals to sign specific forms when participating in Back to Work (BtW) schemes, including Help to Work (HtW) ”

Despite this clear opinion from the DWP they recently sanctioned Peter Baker’s Jobseeker Aallowance, for declining to sign Community Work Placement documentation [Action Plan]. Peter challenged the original decision to sanction through the Jobcentre’s formal Mandatory Reconsideration (internal DWP appeal) process which he lost, he then lodged a formal appeal to an independent Tribunal.

On 13/2/15 the Tribunal wrote to Mr Baker to inform him:

“I have been advised that the Appeal’s Officer has revised the decision on your case and that the new decision is more favourable”

the Jobcentre followed up with a letter dated 17/2/15 to explain it’s decision thus:

“Advice has been sought from DMA Leeds who have confirmed a person cannot be sanctioned simply for refusing to sign documentation drawn up by the Provider.
Work Solutions have confirmed that Mr Baker was willing to participate in the CWP scheme and a sanction is not appropriate.

As such Mr Baker has not failed to participate in the CWP scheme and a sanction is not appropriate”

Listen to Peter explain the process he went through after declining to sign a CWP Action Plan, including secret telephone recordings of Jobcentre staff:


Forum discussion
Work Solutions sanction referral form: page 1page 2
Jobcentre letter dated 17/2/15
Tribunal letter dated 13/2/15

Associated Freedom of information Act requests

Signing providers community work placement (CWP) forms, like action plans –
CWP Participation –
Follow up to “Sign here, or face benefit sanctions?” –
Sign here, or face benefit sanctions? –
CWP Provider form(s) and an unlawful decision to sanction benefits for not signing –
Signing providers community work placement (CWP) forms, like action plans –
Mandatory to sign CWP Action Plan? –

Sharing your information with Employers and Community Work Placement #workfare providers

DWP has given Community Work Placement (CWP) providers powers to share and obtain participants personal data:

“The Information Sharing Designation Order will allow CWP providers to share claimants’ personal data:
– Where the provider requires evidence from an employer to claim an outcome payment for a CWP claimant, and/or
– To obtain interview feedback where a CWP JSA claimant has been mandated to apply for a job
– Where they need to share information with a work placement host (JSA only).”
CWP LR02 provider memo: information sharing

This is related to DWP CWP, Jobsearch and Work Programme (WP) providers being given the powers of an Employment Officer and a similar WP Designation Order.

To mitigate against DWP WP providers sharing and obtaining your personal data, see section 1.1 of which could be adapted for CWP and the mandatory Supervised Jobsearch Pilot. As well as considering whether an DWP provider forms need signing, as they can and often do include a consent based voluntary agreement to share your personal data.

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

Jobsearch, Work Programme and Community Work Placement provider staff get more sanctions powers – #workfare

DWP issues Designation Orders to make JSA Work Programme, Supervised Jobsearch and Community Work Placement provider staff Employment Officers, normally reserved for Jobcentre ‘Advisers’/Work Coaches.

“Any employee of a Work Programme [Community Work Programme/Supervised Jobsearch] contractor can now legally give directions to claimants
The government issued the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work Programme) (Employment Officers) Designation Order 2014 on 6 October. This means that it is now legal for any member of staff of a Work Programme contractor to instruct a claimant to take a job or mandatory work experience, on pain of a ‘high level’ sanction of 13 weeks for a first ‘failure’, 26 weeks for a second, and three years for a third” From: Page 10 Briefing on latest JSA/ESA benefit sanctions statistics

FOI Watch: “This request concerns new powers being bestowed on Work Programme
providers and and Community Work Placement providers contained in
the following Orders:

1. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Community Work Placements)
(Employment Officers) Designation 2014

2. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work Programme) (Employment Officers)
Designation 2014”

A Designation Order (pdf) has also been issued for The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Scheme) (Employment Officers) Designation Order 2014.

Letters dated 06/10/2014 from Esther McVey MP to the Deposited Papers Clerk regarding documents for deposit in the House Libraries. (2 docs.) II. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Community Work Placements)(Employment Officers) Designation Order 2014. 4p. III. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work Programme)(Employment Officers) Designation Order 2014. 4p.  CWP_Letter.pdf  –  CWP_Designation_Order.pdf  –  WP_Letter.pdf  – WP_Designation_Order.pdf

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

Community Work Placement Action Plans: Do not sign?

If a Claimant did not wish to sign an action plan they need not sign an Action Plan. We will review the Community Work Placement provider guidance; and issue an amendment to clarify this.”

#DoNotSign resources:

Abolish £700 million Help To Work with a Guaranteed Job and wage incentives

IPPR has recommended that the punitive Help To Work scheme, which includes 6 month unpaid Community Work Placements, should be abolished and replaced with a GuaranteedJob and employer wage incentives.

Report: Fixing the Work Programme, locally “Subsidised employment for most long-term unemployed claimants should be full time, with active job-hunting phased back in towards the end of the contract”

DWP provider guidance: Community Work Placements – Help To Work

Promoting the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement in the voluntary sector. For volunteering, against workfare.

Community Work Placements: DWP provider guidance

Annex 1: Work placement minimum standards
Annex 2: JSA Mandatory Activity Notification MAN 1
Annex 3: JSA Mandatory Activity Notification MAN 2
Annex 4: Labour Market Decision Making (LMDM) teams
Annex 5: Unencrypted CWP DMA e-mail referrals
Annex 6a: CWP DMA 01 – Failure to Participate referral
Annex 6b: How to complete CWP DMA 01
Annex 7a: CWP DMA 02 – Misconduct referral
Annex 7b: How to complete CWP DMA 02
Annex 8: Inappropriate referrals
Annex 9: Provider implementation checklist

This DWP provider guidance supports the prime provider in the delivery of the Community Work Placements Programme.

This guidance must be read in conjunction with:
– the Invitation to Tender
– Community Work Placement contract package information
– the DWP Generic Provider Guidance

Published:27 May 2014

Info for hosts of mandatory workfare