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

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 and Jobsearch Evidence: a definitive guide

Further to an email query and a recent FOI DWP disclosure, a new page on JSA and Jobsearch evidence (records) has been produced:

http://refuted.org.uk/rights/jobsearchdefinitive/

Not disclosing too much personal data (Jobsearch evidenc/records) when there is no actual requirement, can give you a much better means to prevent others controlling you, through benefit conditions that often don’t actually exist.

DWP says “no legal requirement for Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants to undertake 35 hours of Work Search…each week”

“As there is no legal requirement for Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants to
undertake 35 hours of Work Search Activity each week, no legislation or
national guidance stating otherwise exists.” https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/243530/response/596234/attach/html/3/5312%20reply.pdf.html

Above quote is despite Jobcentre ‘Advisers’/Work Coaches seeking to impose a 35 hour a week Jobsearch requirement for JSA, when such a requirement only exists for Universal Credit and disclosing information that the 35 hour requirement existed for ‘New Style JSA’.
The JSA Supervised Jobsearch Pilot is a randomised trial involving a 35 hour a week jobsearch provision at DWP provider premises.

 

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 http://refuted.org.uk/2014/11/21/briefingonlatestpunishment/

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”
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/new_legal_powers_to_wp_and_cwp_s

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
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/business-papers/commons/deposited-papers/

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)

Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Guidance

Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Scheme launched: 35 hours per week for 13 weeks

The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Scheme) Regulations – Made – – – 17th July 2014 – Read the regulations online or download original PDF file: via http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1913/contents/made

Scheme for jobseekers registered at Jobcentres in: (a) East Anglia; (b) Black Country; (c) Mercia; (d) Surrey & Sussex; (e) West Yorkshire.

Dystopian 35 Hours a Week Supervised Jobsearch for Jobseeker’s Allowance Pilot