3 December 2012
Following our initial discussions with DWP, the background to the new service was given in DWP/BB/153/12. In response to critical press coverage and enquiries from campaign organisations members and branches PCS pressured DWP for clearer information about the current difficulties with Universal Jobmatch. Additionally, PCS is receiving reports and queries from members concerned that some local managers appear to be putting pressure on advisors to misrepresent the mandatory nature of signing up to the new service.
At the recent meeting, DWP management confirmed that the use of Universal Jobmatch is non-mandatory. On the security issues, management acknowledged that there had been ‘teething issues’ but that these were being resolved. PCS has put pressure on management to ensure a human rather than an automated IT check for the placing of vacancies by employers, to avoid the embarrassment of the bogus MI6 vacancy being repeated.
PCS believes that it is essential for the future of the new service that jobseekers can have full confidence in the security of the system and trust and respect their employment adviser. It is therefore extremely damaging that some managers are putting pressure on jobcentre staff to tell jobseekers that they must register or
grant their adviser access to their Universal Jobmatch account. This is clearly not currently the position and to suggest that it is would amount to official misdirection. PCS is now seeking to establish exactly what the legal position is and in the meantime strongly advises members not to put themselves in the position of misinforming the public about Universal Jobmatch.
There is likely to be management pressure to hit the target of 80% of jobseekers using the system by August 2013. However, it is clearly inappropriate for individual targets to be applied to Universal Jobmatch account registration, and any reports of excessive pressure on advisors to hit this target should be raised locally with PCS in the first instance. PCS has also had some reports that in some areas it has been suggested that the rate of jobseeker registrations or even the possible number of jobseeker directions associated with Universal Jobmatch account registration may be used to assess performance or lead to some form of monitoring or even to a PIP. PCS advice is that it is impossible to see how this would be appropriate and that in all cases where it may arise members should talk to their workplace rep.