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

Information Sharing Designation Order: Exchanging your data with DWP, Employers and #Workfare hosts

The DWP Information Sharing Designation Order [*extract of summary below] gives DWP and it’s Providers powers to share and exchange your personal data/information with employers and workfare hosts.

To mitigate against DWP and Work Programme providers sharing and obtaining your personal data, see section 1.1 of http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/12/withhold/ which could be adapted for other DWP back to work schemes. As well as considering whether any DWP provider forms need signing, as they can and often do include a consent based voluntary agreement to share your personal data.

*Extract

des summary
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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)

 

DWP Jobcentre and it’s Providers, your Personal Data and the Freedom of Information Act

1) Your Personal Data/Information
2) Personal Data/Information the DWP/Jobcentre holds about you
3) Official Information
4) DWP/Jobcentre Official Information held by Providers and  Subcontractors
(Including Freedom of Information Act obligations)
5) Making requests for Official Information
6) What do these Acts mean for me?
(Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act, Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations and Environmental Information Regulations)
7) FAQs


1) Your Personal Data/Information

You are entitled to see information held about you. Find out how to manage your personal information including subject access requests, compensation and what you can expect from organisations.
http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_the_public/personal_information.aspx

Provider and Subcontractor obligations in this area are outlined in the DWP Framework Agreementfor the provision of employment related support services.

2) Personal Data/Information the DWP/Jobcentre holds about you
Download a copy of the DWP/Jobcentre Subject Access Request (SAR) form to obtain copies of the information they hold about you.

“As DWP is the data controller not the provider, providers do not hold any information about DWP participants in their own right. Any SAR requests for DWP participants should therefore be sent to DWP.
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/79898/response/216778/attach/html/2/FoI%20IR%20188%2010.10.11.pdf.html

“Providers receiving any SAR requests are required to notify DWP and provide us with [all] the personal data they hold to enable the Department to meet our  legal obligations.”
Source: DWP Central FoI Team

3) Official Information
You are entitled to request official information held by public authorities, including government departments, local authorities, hospitals, schools and police forces. Find out what you need to do.
http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_the_public/official_information.aspx

4) DWP/Jobcentre Official Information held by Providers and Subcontractors
(Including Freedom of Information Act obligations)
The DWP/Jobcentre has contracts with Providers and they with Subcontractors (contractors) to provide Welfare to Work Programmes, you can make requests via www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/dwp to obtain copies of Information Providers and Subcontractors hold, such as the Names of Mandatory Work providers and Work Programme induction information.

Provider and Subcontractor Freedom of Information Act obligations in this area are outlined on pages 36 and 37 of the DWP Framework Agreement for the provision of employment related support services.

5) Making requests for Official Information
Use the www.whatdotheyknow.com website to obtain Official Information under the Freedom of Information Act.

6) What do these Acts mean for me?
What are the Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act, Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations and Environmental Information Regulations? What are the differences between them?
http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_the_public/the_acts.aspx

FAQs
Can’t find what you’re looking for? The ICO FAQs might help.
http://www.ico.gov.uk/Global/faqs.aspx