Universal Jobmatch: Update

17 January 2013


PCS has received many queries and concerns from members regarding the use of Universal Jobmatch (UJ). This circular provides an update on recent issues.

Staff accessing their own UJ accounts

On its introduction, members of staff were encouraged to set up their own accounts to demonstrate the use of UJ to claimants. It has came to light recently that accessing your own records (or that of friends or family) using the UJ icon on your desktop is subject to the same security restrictions as other departmental system such as JSAPS or LMS. Staff are permitted to set up and access their own UJ account, but it must be done through the internet browser and jobsearch activity must be done in their own time.

PCS has asked that DWP provide clarification to their managers, in addition to the ‘implementation updates’ they have issued already. They have stated that the advice to set up an account and demonstrate its use to the claimant was local and not from the UJ project. Clearly, we believe that no action should be taken against a member of staff where they have been misadvised by their manager.

Jobseeker Directions and Mandatory Use of UJ

PCS was aware that, despite assurances otherwise from the UJ project of DWP, management in some jobcentre districts were instructing advisers to tell claimants that UJ is mandatory and access must given to the DWP.

As a result of legal challenges and negative press attention, DWP have revised the guidance on UJ to make it clear that this cannot be done. The UJ Jobmatch toolkit chapter 3, paragraph 50, states: “You cannot issue a Jobseeker’s Direction to either require a claimant to create a profile and CV in Universal Jobmatch or to mandate a claimant to give us access to their account – this is their decision not ours.” Paragraph 52 also states that “We cannot specify to a JSA claimant how they provide us with records of their jobsearch activity and Universal Jobmatch will not change this.”

PCS is awaiting clarification from DWP management on the status of the many Jobseeker Directions that were incorrectly issued to claimants before the guidance was clarified. PCS members should contact their local representative to challenge any instruction to inform claimants that the use of UJ or access to it is mandatory.

Further UJ issues

PCS remains concerned with many security and checking aspects of UJ, including:

  • How claimants data is protected in terms of reported data-fishing by bogus employers
  • The recent high profile bogus and unsavoury adverts placed and the checks are in place to ensure that these are not placed on the system again.
  • Compliance with minimum wage and the terms and conditions of the use of the site
  • Process of ‘accepting cookies’ and EU data protection principles

As yet, DWP have refused to meet with PCS again on UJ and have stated they will respond in writing to our concerns. We believe this to be unacceptable, as problems with UJ impact daily on PCS members, with some claimants becoming frustrated and even abusive due to difficulties they experience using the system. PCS will continue to push management further on this and request that any further issues are reported to your PCS rep or to DWP Group Office at leeds@pcs.org.uk. 
   007 Universal Match update

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