UPDATE 27/2/13: Registering an account with Universal Jobmatch will become mandatory from the beginning of March 2013. There should still be no requirement to tick the box giving DWP access to your account. For the latest details and what this means for claimants keep an eye on: http://consent.me.uk/universaljobmatch/
In a major blow for Iain Duncan Smith’s snooping plans, around half of unemployed claimants have refused to allow Jobcentre staff to monitor their online job seeking accounts.
A recent Freedom of Information has revealed that there are currently 1,267,245 job seeking accounts* registered with the Government website Universal Jobmatch. Of these just 765,054, around 40%, have not ticked the box allowing DWP access to their account.
For three months now Jobcentres have been using every trick in the book to sign claimants up to the new website which is intended to monitor jobseeking activity. Many claimants are believed to have been wrongly threatened with benefit sanctions should they refuse to sign up to the website which has been plagued by attempts at identity fraud, spam, scams, spoof jobs and even sex work.
Despite relentless pressure from Jobcentre advisors, of the 1.56 million people currently claiming Jobseekers Allowance in the UK, only around half have granted the DWP access to monitor their accounts.
Whilst Iain Duncan Smith has muttered that eventually signing up to the site might be mandatory for some claimants, it is not the current DWP policy. Signing up to the website is not mandatory. Claimants cannot be issued with a Jobseeker’s Direction forcing them to use the site and cannot be forced to tick the box granting DWP access to the account.
For information from the PCS Union on the current position visit: http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/department_for_work_and_pensions_group/dwp-news.cfm/id/78E359C6-7B09-4FC6-98EBD4696432C199
For those who have been tricked or bullied into signing up to the site against their will a recent FOI explains how consent can be revoked:
“You do not need to explain the reasons why you have chosen not to continue with your UJ account, but your adviser will need to know that you are no longer using this service. This is so that they can review and agree a new Jobseeker’s Agreement with you, to reflect what other steps you will be taking instead of using Universal Jobmatch to help improve your chances of finding work.
(d) How do I go about revoking my consent on a existing UJ account?
Firstly, if you wish to continue using UJ but no longer want to let DWP have access to your account then you need to un-check the box in your profile which states ‘I authorise DWP to view my accounts, including job search activity, feedback and notes’.
If you wish to completely close down your UJ account you will need to use the Contact Us facility within the service and ask for your account to be terminated.
DWP Central FoI Team”
For all the latest Universal Jobmatch details (and much more including your rights on the Work Programme) visit: http://consent.me.uk/
* Of the 1,267,245 Universal Jobmatch accounts it is unclear how many of these are Jobseekers Allowance claimants. Registration to the site is open to anyone so it is likely many of those accounts do not belong to current claimants.
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