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 Hardship Payment forms/guidance: JSA/ESA and Universal Credit (recoverable loan)

DWP FOI disclosure of forms and guidance: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/hardship_payment_application_for FOI request 7 August 2014, disclosures 5 September 2014.

Download hardship application forms
JSA/ESA  (pdf) – view pdf online (html)
Universal Credit (pdf) – view pdf online (html)

Guidance
Leaflet: What is a [JSA] hardship payment? Download pdf – view pdf online (html) – source
DWP JSA Hardship Award Guidance Queries and Help: Download (pdf) – view pdf online (html)
Decision Makers Guide:Chapter 35 – Hardship  – Download (pdf) – view pdf online – source

Benefit Sanction Appeal Tips (JSA & ESA)

If you use assistive technology and need a version of any DWP document above in a more accessible format, please email accessible.formats@dwp.gsi.gov.uk. Please tell them what format you need. It will help to you say what assistive technology you use.

 

 

 

29 page briefing on DWP JSA and ESA sanctions stats of 13 Aug 14

Download original (.docx) – View online

Briefing extracts:It was always likely that the Coalition’s intensification of JSA and ESA sanctions would lead to fatalities
Up to 31 March 2014 there had been 280,140 JSA Work Programme job outcomes and 503,220 JSA Work Programme sanctions
The annual number of JSA/ESA sanctions has almost doubled under the Coalitionvia @boycottworkfare

Petition: Hold an inquiry into benefit sanctions that killed my brother

Briefing by Dr David Webster Honorary Senior Research Fellow Urban Studies School of Social and Political Sciences University of Glasgow Email: david.webster@glasgow.ac.uk
Webpage: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/socialpolitical/staff/davidwebster/

New briefing on the DWP’s statistics for it’s punitive JSA and ESA sanctions campaign

View briefing online – Original .docx file

“This briefing deals with the statistics released by the DWP on 14 May 2014, which include figures for a further three months, namely October to December 2013, and give revised figures for every earlier month back to April 2000.

Highest numbers and rates of sanctions to date

The punitive campaign by DWP ministers and officials has continued to intensify, so that in spite of the fall in the numbers of JSA and ESA claimants, the numbers of sanctions have risen to new highs”

5 June 2014

Dr David Webster – Honorary Senior Research Fellow – Urban Studies – University of Glasgow http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/socialpolitical/staff/davidwebster/

Former Jobcentre Plus adviser tells of a “brutal and bullying” culture of “setting claimants up to fail” – “The pressure to sanction customers was constant,” he said. “It led to people being stitched-up on a daily basis.” http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/stitching-up-claimants-part-job-says-3537051

More sanctions imposed on jobseeker’s allowance claimants http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/14/more-jobseekers-allowance-claimants-subject-benefit-sanctions

28 April 2014 benefit changes: Lone Parent Conditionality, Workfare, Jobsearch, Sanctions & more

“…high-level overview of changes that are being introduced from 28 April 2014″

  • Quarterly Work Search Interviews
    (20 minute Quarterly Work Search Interview every 13 weeks)
  • English Language Requirement (in England only)
    (This will affect all new JSA claimants…It applies equally to UK nationals, European Economic Area (EEA) and non EEA nationals)
  • Increasing Lone Parent Conditionality
  • Day One Conditionality
    “Prior to their Initial Work Search Interview, they will be requested [can be mandated following at an interview, if “appropriate“] to:

    • set up an email address
    • prepare a suitable CV
    • register on Universal Jobmatch”
  • Weekly Work Search Reviews
    (It will apply to 50% of all pre-Work Programme JSA)
  • Help to Work Package: Every person who remains on JSA following completion of the Work Programme will be provided with rigorous support tailored to their needs
    Help to Work offers three intensive support options for Work Programme completers. Work Coaches in Jobcentres will work with claimants to understand their needs, and refer them to one of the following:

    • Mandatory Intervention Regime where Coaches have more time to spend with
      claimants
    • Daily Work Search Reviews
    • Community Work Placements
      (Community Work Placements, where claimants undertake work placements of community benefit for up to six months alongside provider-led jobsearch)

    Discuss at:http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/benefit/9220-important-read-this#38491

Copies of 17 submissions to JSA sanctions review

http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/oakley-sanctions-review-responses-other-organisations

Act Now For Autism
Broadway and St Mungo’s
Citizens Advice Scotland
Child Poverty Action Group
Community Links
Crisis
Dr David Webster, University of Glasgow
Drugscope and Homeless Link
Gingerbread
Glasgow Advice Service
National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers (NAWRA)
Norfolk Community Law Service
Nottingham CVS
Oxfam
Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)
Single Parent Action Network
Unemployed Net