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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Universal Jobmatch: Why does DWP need your permission (consent) to access your account?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) says the reason why the DWP needs user permission to access their Universal Jobmatch (UJ) account is because it could be used to have an adverse* and unfair effect on their benefit claims, through benefit sanctions and or loss of entitlement.

“While the DWP is already the data controller for the information, it would be considered ‘unfair’ for the UJM information to be used to consider the customer’s JSA (or similar benefit) claim without the prior permission of the customer being obtained by the DWP” [emphasis added]
ICO 15 May 2015

*Principle 1 of the Data Protection Act requires the DWP, it’s contractors and sub-contractors to process personal data fairly and lawfully and “not use the data in ways that have unjustified adverse effects on the individuals concerned“.

Resources

DWP forced to confirm if it holds info on exploitation of workfare conscripts

“The Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation: Confirm or deny whether the requested information is held.” https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/decisionnotices/2014/fs_50517872.pdf

About an FOI request: Groundworks and work programme placements https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/groundworks_and_work_programme_p#outgoing-284978

The Benefit Sanctions Machine – Vindictive Seetec and it’s Targets to make people destitute

Whilst much debate about Benefit Sanctions Targets has rightly focused on Jobcentre staff, it appears self evident that Providers [For-Profit Companies] of the DWP’s flagship Work Programme and Mandatory Work Activity have targets and some pursue them with greater vigorous vindictiveness than others. How can providers like Seetec devote it’s resources to sanctioning 4,417 people in one week, compared to helping them into actual employment?

In a 5 week period Seetec tried to sanction benefits of nearly 13,000 people (Weeks 18 to 22). In one week alone it called to make 4,417 people destitute (Week 20), compared to 2 by Prospects.

Evidence of Destitution Targets by  Providers and The Workfare and Work Programme Benefit Sanctions Machine: http://refuted.org.uk/2014/01/02/sanctionshappy/

Punishing Poverty? Report on the Impact of Benefits Sanctions.

Seetec ruin lives. Let’s ruin their day: Contact The Workfare Bosses

Benefit Sanctions Are State Terrorism And Must Be Stopped Without Exceptions

Work Programme: Consent to contact employers, yet more DWP clarification

Use this letter: Cash for Consent: Letter to stop employers sharing your Personal Data with DWP or Work Programme Providers – http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/29/cashforconsent/ to stop your past or present employer giving your employee Personal Data including “wage details” to the DWP or Work Programme Providers for Outcome or Sustainment payments.

“Summary and Action
3. You are free to go directly to an employer to establish wage details in respect of Outcome or Sustainment payments without the claimants consent for legacy JSA and ESA claimants.
4. You are also free to share any information that you obtain with DWP for legacy JSA and ESA claimants.
5. You are not free however to cont act employers for claimants who are receiving either contributory based JSA or contributory based ESA for
Universal Credit Claimants. (Sometimes referred to as “new style JSA/ESA”).
6. For these Claimant groups it is still necessary to obtain consent to contact an employer.”
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wp139-provider-memo-claimant-consent-before-contacting-an-employer

Seetec and Ingeus: Most vindictive benefit sanctions happy Workfare and Work Programme providers

Statistics released today about the DWP’s Provider Direct destitution causing benefit sanctions hotline, show consistently that Seetec and Ingeus are by far the most vindictive benefit sanctions happy Mandatory Work Activity and Work Programme providers.

In a 5 week period Seetec made calls to sanction benefits of nearly 13,000 people (Weeks 18 to 22). In one week alone it called to make 4,417 people destitute (Week 20), compared to 2  by Prospects.

In a 5 week period Seetec tried to sanction benefits of nearly 13,000 people (Weeks 18 to 22). In one week alone it called to make 4,417 people destitute (Week 20), compared to 2  by Prospects.
Source: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/provider_direct_mi#incoming-466144

Provider Direct“is used when a Work Programme participant has failed to participate in a mandated activity and you are going to raise a WP08 [sanction] referral.” (emphasis added) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-provider-guidance-provider-direct-work-programme

Work ProgrammeMandation is a tool to be used to encourage participation in the work programme with sanctionable consequences for non participation.”  (emphasis added) https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/264163/wp-pg-chapter-3a-22-october-2012.pdf

Mandatory Work Activity Providers “The Provider Direct service was introduced on 25 March 2013 as a way to
help you manage your Decision Making and Appeals (DMA) [sanctions] referrals.”
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lr18-provider-memo-updates-to-mandatory-work-activity-provider-guidance

Strangely the number of individuals A4e called for the sanction of destitution on a weekly basis, has been omitted, in the week starting 21/10/13 it made 434 sanctions calls (compared to 4 by Avanta). These calls could have been for it’s plans to sanction up to 4340 people, as each call can be for 10 Work Programme conscripts.

A4e sanctions happy

Provider Direct guidance
“10 participants..[a]…call”
https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/265415/provider-direct-guidance.pdf

These cold hard statistics show the wanton destruction DWP Providers are having on people lives, by forcing them into destitution.

What these sanctions calls stats hide is how often they are being initiated by subcontractors and workfare placement exploiters like the YMCA and the Salvation Army.

*Post revised, as viewing stats via google does not display all stats – it is recommended to download the full document to view all content: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/189610/response/466144/attach/4/5851%20Davis.xls
Via: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/provider_direct_mi#incoming-466144

How to Appeal or Dispute a Decision: From 28th October 2013 http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/27/appeals/

53% of reconsideration requests and appeals against JSA sanctions are successful

Tips to challenge DWP provider benefit sanctions referrals

If you ever get a Jobcentre benefit sanctions letter based upon a referral from a DWP Provider, such as a Work Programme or Mandatory Work Activity provider, you should always make a formal request for a copy of all the information the provider gave to the DWP to base the referral upon. This is because the DWP’s own evidence shows that many referrals contain information that means they are invalid, as 40% of benefit sanctions referrals by providers are “inappropriate”

Important: If a provider informs you of an intention to make a sanctions referral never explain to a provider why it is invalid, as this information can be used to your disadvantage, always wait for a letter from the Jobcentre asking you to formally give a good-reason(s) why the sanctions referral is invalid.

To request the information (personal data) the provider gave to the DWP, you will need to submit a Subject Access Request to the DWP. (not the provider) It is suggested that you also inform the DWP in writing that you require all the personal data, including any referral forms, the provider gave to the DWP to enable you to give a good-reason(s) why the sanctions referral is invalid.

“On average, of the calls made to the Provider Direct service, 40% highlightsome information that subsequently means a DMA [sanctions] referral is not appropriate.
From: Mandatory Work Activity Live Running Memo Subject: Changes to the Provider Direct service for Mandatory Work Activity Providers
https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/259403/mwa-memo-lr18.pdf

DWP Benefits: How to Appeal or Dispute a Decision from 28th October 2013 – http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/27/appeals/

Winning your benefit appeal: what you need to know – £12 from CPAG – http://refuted.org.uk/2013/12/04/benefitappeal/

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)