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

Universal Jobmatch and your ‘public CV’: what can an employer see?

Further to a discussion on twitter, the DWP has released information about what an employer can see when they conduct a jobseeker search of ‘public CVs’ on Universal Jobmatch (UJ). The DWP say that employers with Jobmatch accounts cannot see any personal data when they conduct Jobseeker searchs and the full content of a CV is only available to an employer when the Jobseeker applies for a job through UJ, either by sending their CV direct to the employer or through UJ.

“…when an employer conducts a jobseeker search on Universal Jobmatch the search function does not search jobseekers CV’s but instead matches jobseekers to vacancy criteria that an employer has placed on Universal Jobmatch.  The match is based on information that a jobseeker has recorded within their profile on Universal Jobmatch system, for example, skills, location etc”
DWP Central FoI Team – 03/06/2015

Confusion has been caused by the DWP’s use of the term “public CV”, which understandably leads people to believe that employers, if not the public, would have easy access to the full content of a CV.

It seems highly probable that the DWP’s original plan was that UJ users CVs would have had more open access, alongside DWP staff having access to users account. However, as the processing of personal data on UJ can lead directly to benefit sanctions, this came into conflict with Principle 1 of the Data Protection Act, part of which requires that personal data is not processed “in ways that have unjustified adverse effects on the individuals concerned“. Consequently DWP access to a UJ users account needs permission (consent) and use of the term “public CV” is misleading and inappropriate.

This need to ensure personal data is processed fairly and lawfully, under Principle 1, may go some way to explain why DWP compulsory back to work scheme providers do not appear to mandate participants to use UJ privacy invasive benefit sanction clones like myworksearch.co.uk and avantajobs.com.

Resources:

DWP Digital Tools of Oppression: for unemployed and people in-work to be exploited by employers

Following on from The Universal Credit (Work-Related Requirements) In Work Pilot Scheme and Amendment Regulations 2015 and the explanatory note that highlighted IT ideas to match workers with employers to fill flexible short hours. Today the DWP disclosed fuller details of the ideas submitted by Accenture and others, to make the unemployed and people in-work more insure and open to employer exploitation. An extract of ideas are below, these suggestions are mostly based upon extending Universal Jobmatch so it gives employers and the DWP greater control over peoples lives, forcing people under Universal Credit to make known the “Slivers of Time” they are free to be exploited by employers or face benefit sanctions.

“Job Scheduling – posting one’s availability through UC Jobmatch for specific dates or
hours within a day…

…people interested in elderly care we could present the necessary skills for entry level, but also those which will be required to increase earnings….

Slivers of Time…

…what ideas are implemented as part of these trials, whether it be from a small scale nudge [psychological coercion] intervention or a wider scale One Digital Service portal or app…”

IDS’s  Centre for Social (in)Justice also has a few words

“Universal Jobmatch is an important innovation but in reality, the department has
only just begun to scratch the surface of the potential of this tool.

Universal Jobmatch software should be updated to  include a timetable where claimants can list the hours that they would be available….

…filter part-time jobs that are appropriate based on what a claimant has already identified through their own work-readiness timetable.  ”

Deloitte on your CV
(suggesting people should add more personal data to their CV)

“a programme of work to enhance  the ontology by factoring in skills associated with non-work and voluntary activities, such as, sports coaching, youth work, mentoring, home visiting, and the like would enrich the skills base elicited from a CV ”

#UniversalCredit: Activities that could b imposed when in employment, including Psychological Fundamentalism “Proposals submitted included a sponsored website that provides details of claimants as a pool of local top up workers available to employers. Named individuals could be booked instantly, possibly at short notice and for short periods. This would fit around claimant’s availability and existing work and child care commitments. Each claimant would be given a personal online diary in which they enter hours for today, the day after or weeks ahead. They would also define the terms on which they will accept bookings.” http://refuted.org.uk/2014/12/05/in-work-activities/

Jobcentre ‘Work Coaches’ cannot make following mandatory

Today the DWP disclosed a summary of it’s Work Coaches (WC) “main activities“, it is worth noting that use of the ‘My Work Plan‘ is entirely voluntary and benefit claimants can restrict WC/DWP access to Universal Jobmatch accounts. Under Universal Credit (UC), it is not a requirement to sign a Claimant Commitment (CC), legislation requires that one be “accepted” via  a number of means. Before accepting a UC CC, there is a 7 day cooling off period.

Work Coaches mail activities

“However, as they would be considered Work Coaches, the main activities
associated with this role are:
–  To make every claimant contact count by coaching them to take
responsibility for getting themselves into work. Complete a Claimant
Commitment and be accountable for the decisions made during
interviews with claimants to help move them back into sustained
employment.
–  Agree the Claimant Commitment, obtain a signed copy from claimant
and give the claimant a hard copy. Record on LMS that the Claimant
Commitment has been accepted/disputed and verified before sending
the claim pack to the Service Centre.
–  Provide an immediate second opinion on colleagues’ refuse to sign
cases (Claimant Commitment)
–  Promote and encourage the use of Universal Jobmatch (UJ) for
jobsearch activity. Proactively suggest ways claimants may improve
the matches they receive, encouraging claimants to create an account
and explain the benefits of allowing DWP access to their account
–  Offer dynamic, flexible advice and support to underpin claimants’
personalised commitment of job search actions, and support them to
develop the skills they need to look for and obtain work.
–  To promote the use of the My Work Plan by coaching claimants to
forward plan their own work search activities that will allow them the
opportunity to document their plans and achievements towards finding
employment.
–  Support staff in implementing conditionality and ensuring they
understand the level of evidence required in the My Work Plan.
–  To be accountable for decisions on availability with a clear rationale for
the level, frequency and intensity of contact they have with each
claimant.
–  Undertake Work Services activity with the claimant, including
maintenance of claimant’s skills/CV using Universal Jobmatch where
appropriate
–  Reconsider mandation decisions (Jobseeker’s Directions) where
requested by claimant. ” [emphasis added] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/specialist_advisors_at_jobcentre#incoming-640421

#UniversalJobmatch: How to handle questions about giving Jobcentre/DWP no access to your account

DWP question: Why do you not want to give us (DWP/Jobcentre) access to Universal Jobmatch?

Jobseeker answer: (Suggestion) Do you need my permission to access my Jobmatch account? (repeat as required)

DWP answer: Yes, but why do you not want to give us access?

Jobseeker answer: Because you need my permission. (repeat as required)

Above transcripts is a suggested way for jobseekers on benefits to respond to questions on why they have, will and do not have to give the Jobcentre/DWP access to their Jobmatch account. Giving fuller explanations could increase conditionality, even though DWP guidance clearly states user “permission” is required to access any users account and access cannot be made mandatory using a sanction based Jobseeker’s Direction.

45. “DWP access to their [Universal Jobmatch] account (…you cannot issue a Jobseeker’s Direction to gain access)” [original emphasis] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/201552/response/504427/attach/html/3/1138%20Response.pdf.html

“….she asked me why I have not allowed the DWP (JCP) access to my universal job-match account, I told her that I very rarely use the Direct.Gov website to search for jobs, as it’s obsolete compared to many of the other options out there, I spent about 5 minutes explaining…. [emphasis added]

Eventually she just told me straight up that according to the new rules enforced by the DWP I had NO choice but to allow them access to my account, not only that but I would also be FORCED to log in to their piece of shit website 5 days a week” http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/unemployment-and-job-centre-plus/10499-the-job-center-forced-me-to-allow-them-access-to-my-universal-jobmatch-account

A list of posts mentioning Universal Jobmatch + http://refuted.org.uk/jobmatch/