Brave New Orwellian 35 hour a week Worksearch requirement

Universal Jobmatch & Brave New Orwellian World of a mandatory 35 hour a week Worksearch requirement

Latest updates:

Visit: Universal Jobmatch  > All your rights (as of 28/1/13)

Today (08 Aug 2012) the DWP announced it’s online Universal Jobmatch service due for launch this Autumn, as a replacement of the current Jobcentre Plus/  jobseeker and employer jobs vacancies service, that adds about 10,000 jobs to its books every working day. Exact details are scant, though a letter from the Secretary of State gives a better insight into the inherent consent and privacy implications. The letter states an “adviser” will have online access to the jobsearch activity  of people claiming undefined benefits. This “adviser” is not defined as one being from Jobcentre Plus who are normally met on a face-to-face basis and could well be one located at a DWP Welfare to Work Provider, online or over the phone (call centre).

Download: All the contract documents:

“One of the advantages of the new service for benefit claimants is not having to
provide evidence of their jobsearch activity on Universal Jobmatch as their personal
adviser will be able to view this online.”
Source: Letter by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 08/08/12

It is unclear to what extent and how employers will have direct access to Universal Jobmatch users personal data, such as their name, CV (online profile), home address, telephone number and or email address etc. Or whether employers will provide the DWP with a user’s (Jobseekers) personal data, should they give feedback about any job application (interview?) they make,  as the DWP is suggesting:

Universal Jobmatch – frequently asked questions for  employers

“If you use DWP services now we’ll automatically create an account for you.  New employers will need to follow a simple registration process.  You can create and manage your jobs, receive matches to jobseekers, view and respond to matching results, and invite jobseekers to apply for your jobs online.  Plus you can tell us what you think about the service and the jobseekers who have applied for your jobs by providing us with feedback.

This apparent ability for Jobcentre Plus to seek feedback relating to a specific Jobseeker from employers is also part of the Jobseekers Agreement (ES3JP) form, Universal Jobmatch just makes the process more online focused.

Of course no employer has any legal obligation to provide ‘feedback’ and any Jobseeker can inform an employer that they do no wish any feedback to be given to Jobcentre Plus, which may best be done in writing and possibly as part of any job application.


If Universal Jobmatch is associated to claims for Universal Credit this will affect “6 million households – 19 million people“.

Universal Credit will affect anyone who claims or who will claim:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support for Mortgage Interest

therefore Universal Credit recipients who have a mandatory Work search requirement, under the Welfare Reform Act,  could have payment of Universal Credit made conditional upon mandatory use of and registration with Universal Jobmatch.

Vacancy statistics are often disputed and under Universal Jobmatch the DWP has announced that “National Statistics on Jobcentre Plus vacancies will cease and there will be no further releases on Nomis [nomis – official labour market statistics]. Statistics will be made available from the new job-search service”. If the Office for National Statistics are to no longer provide such vacancy statistics data this will be damaging to public trust. The DWP is currently running a consultation on the future of job vacancy statistics.

Digital by default

As part of the DWP plan that the whole benefit process (Universal Credit) will be digital by default, Jobcentre Plus will be offering online digital training course to people newly claiming benefits like Jobseekers Allowance or moving onto Work Related Activity Group/Employment Support Allowance. This is also allied to increased privatisation of Jobcentre Plus/DWP public services like online benefit applications.


Jobtrain (project_17719)
” It will be primarily of a digital nature where claimants will learn how to access Job websites, upload their CVs and complete job applications and employer tests on line.”

Monster Worldwide, Inc (Monster)

Monster Worldwide, Inc (Monster) is the company commissioned by DWP to deliver Jobmatch technology, a Company with a history major Jobseeker personal data breaches:

Monster employee salary info and Social Security numbers may have been exposed on the web for over 8 years Hit With Possible Monster-Sized Data Breach
“A similar warning was posted on, a federal jobs Web site that depends on Monster as a technology provider.” suffers database breach deja vu
“For the second time in 18 months, employment search site has lost a wealth of personal data belonging to millions of job seekers after its database was illegally accessed.”

Monster created the USA version of Jobmatch, it gives an insight into who could well have access to the personal data to be stored on the UK version:
(A federal jobs web site that depends on Monster as a technology provider)
All access or use of this system constitutes user understanding and acceptance of these terms and constitutes unconditional consent to review, monitoring and action by all authorized government and law enforcement personnel. While using this system your use may be monitored, recorded and subject to audit. ”

For US federal jobs it would appear everyone has to register with, which if introduced in the UK under Universal Jobmatch, would give unprecedented access to the personal data of Jobseekers, be they claiming benefits or not. This also creates the possibility that specific employers could demand all Job applications go via Universal Jobmatch, in a similar way that many volunteer job applications only go via

Draft regulations

Draft Regulations indicate people claiming Universal Credit can have a ‘”Work search requirement” of up to 35 hours a week,  with lesser hours (“relevant deductions”) that take account of any paid or voluntary work undertaken, undertaking a work preparation requirement or voluntary work preparation or due to a change of circumstances.

The draft regulations appear to say that people on Universal Credit will still be able to undertake full-time voluntary work, they will however only be able to get a maximum 50% deduction in any Work search hours requirement.

The Welfare to Work(fare) Provider A4e has developed an extensive Jobseeking/Jobsearch ‘Passport‘ for people on the Work Programme, which shows how the Public funded for profit sector are likely to interpret the 35 hour Work search requirement.

Mandatory registration with Universal Jobmatch

The potential mandatory nature of Jobmatch for people claiming Universal Credit is contained in Chapter 2 Claimant responsibilities, Sub section 17. Work search requirement of the Welfare Reform Act 2012:

17 Work search requirement

(1) In this Part a “work search requirement” is a requirement that a claimant take—

(a) all reasonable action, and

(b) any particular action specified by the Secretary of State,
for the purpose of obtaining paid work (or more paid work or better-paid work).

(2) The Secretary of State may under subsection (1)(b) specify the time to be devoted to any particular action.

(3) Action which may be specified under subsection (1)(b) includes in particular—

(a) carrying out work searches;

(b) making applications;

(c) creating and maintaining an online profile [CV?];

(d) registering with an employment agency;

(e) seeking references;

(f) any action prescribed for the purpose in subsection (1).

(4) Regulations may impose limitations on a work search requirement by reference to the work to which it relates; and the Secretary of State may in any particular case specify further such limitations on such a requirement.

(5) A limitation under subsection (4) may in particular be by reference to—

(a) work of a particular nature,

(b) work with a particular level of remuneration,

(c) work in particular locations, or

(d) work available for a certain number of hours per week or at particular times,
and may be indefinite or for a particular period.

.Updated: 16 August 2012