Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Monster to redevelop directgov job search

with 10 comments

Just when you thought there wasn’t enough money left, the Government has splashed out around £20m paying Monster, famous for its poor security allowing hackers to obtain millions of CVs on numerous occasions, to redevelop its directgov website enabling it to manage a quoted 10,500 new vacancies and over a million searches, each working day.

Sounds good? Well, directgov gets around 8000 new entries (be bit jobs, workfare, agency jobs, scams etc.) each working day (as of 2012). Sources claim its 10,600 and already over a million searches a day. Its not much more – but if you believe the hype it works out as less. Furthermore, the DWP could have came to a commercial agreement to piggy bank on Monster for free… in a similar concept how so many search engines are powered by Google.

In this model, Monster would gain by increased visitors, more sales (of your CV to potential employers) and advertisements on site. Now it seems Monster, armed with its handful of patents just for a website, will be paid £20m to achieve nothing greater merely a change of infrastructure and design (we assume) giving similar functionality using the same old Labour Market System but with some third party adverts being included.

Conflict of interest? We think so, also anti-competitive.

The Guardian (excuse their typo) claims the following:-

People looking for work will be able to create their own secure online accounts, through which they can set up an online profile, detailing their skills, qualifications, competencies, work history and job criteria. The sytem will also be able to suggest alternative jobs.

Jobseekers to lose control of their personal information?

Rumours have been on the grapevine for a while suggesting that jobseekers will have to register with directgov to continue claiming benefits – allowing their movements on the directgov job search website to be tracked. Or in other words, without using the website they will claim you have not been Actively Seeking Employment.

It now appears, via suggestion, that jobseekers could be forced to create an “online profile” (basically an online CV) with their other personal information, all awaiting hackers to compromise the system and steal identities, take out credit in other peoples names and sell on to telesales companies.

Monster and data theft

I will not link to information about the Monster data thefts, as I think its common knowledge – otherwise Google it.

The difference is… Monster will take more care on the security of their own systems, then of this new system they are designing for the UK Government… unless of course ongoing costs for such will be paid at taxpayers expense. Security is an ongoing concern, starts from the roots of a particular project reducing risk but will need to be monitored and kept updated.

How safe will you be?

These days everything is stored in the “cloud” an exceptional concept and works really well, but no matter what any security expert with an interest in such technology tells you, its more secure to keep your data as closely as in your house than it is to post it around the world via the internet at numerous “secure” datacentres.

The reason is simple – no one is really that interested in targeting you personally for such little information,  maybe they can use your identity to obtain £1000 of credit. The downside is for each person they achieve this with they risk getting caught by the police, neighbours and their own stupidity (such as tripping over something or knocking themselves out). They will leave clues, perhaps fingerprints, fibres, the unique style of how they broke in, or maybe someone will see their face or hear their voice. Too risky for too little award.

Simultaneous theft – it might take a year of hacking away but it pays off with millions of peoples information. Just because someone is behind a computer it doesn’t make them completely anonymous but it is less chance of getting caught or giving away significant information to link you to the crime (i.e. could they prove it was you?) Of course, additionally to anonymous proxies; its more likely for a team of hackers spread across multiple locations or even more these days that the hacking takes place by innocent peoples’ computers that have been unknowingly compromised. It is common for attacks to come from countries without agreement of fighting crime or where the authority is slow to react.

Generally speaking security doesn’t make a crime impossible it just lowers the risk, increases the time required and make it more likely to get caught.

Boycott the system… its likely to be mandatory

I therefore propose a boycott of the new system. Jobseekers will be able to still seek work via other methods, including job fairs, job newspapers, shop windows, agencies (if you are lucky), other job websites, spec letters and family and friends to name a few.


Written by Universal Jobmatch

February 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Posted in DWP

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  1. Unions call on UK high street giants to halt unpaid work schemes

    Usdaw wants chains to follow Sainsbury’s and Waterstones and end long-term unpaid labour for young unemployed

    Unions have called on Britain’s biggest high street chains to withdraw from government programmes that make the unemployed work for up to six months unpaid or face losing their benefits.

    The call comes as Sainsbury’s, one of the UK’s largest retailers, confirmed to the Guardian that it has stopped branch managers from taking on jobseekers under the work experience scheme.

    The move follows that of Waterstones book chain, which last week announced it had pulled out of the scheme because it did not want to “encourage work for no pay”.

    Under the work experience scheme, hundreds of thousands of largely young jobseekers will work in charities and private businesses for 30 hours a week, for eight weeks, without pay, and can have their benefits removed if they withdraw. The government has also introduced a plethora of other schemes, such as mandatory work activity, sector-based work academies, and the community action programme, which can force jobseekers to take unpaid work for up to six months as a condition of their benefits.

    The schemes are in operation at more than a dozen well-known chains, such as Boots, Tesco, Asda, Primark, Argos, TK Maxx, Poundland and the Arcadia group of stores run by billionaire Sir Philip Green, which includes Top Shop and Burton.

    Shopworkers union Usdaw, which represents more than 400,000 workers in high street retail outlets, said it was currently in discussion with a number of major companies about their involvement.

    John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary, said: “Usdaw is not opposed to schemes that genuinely aim to give young people appropriate work experience or help long-term unemployed people get back into work, but schemes should be voluntary, participants should receive the rate for the job, and there needs to be transparent checks and balances in place.

    “We are in discussions with the participating companies we have agreements with to re-examine their continuing involvement in the […] various schemes.”

    Hannett added: “The unemployment crisis is never going to be solved by forcing people to work for nothing. What the country needs is a proper strategy for jobs and growth.”

    The TUC called for companies to pull out and warned that the government-mandated schemes were encouraging more unpaid work rather than creating actual jobs.

    TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “While unemployed people may benefit from short periods of work experience, forcing them to work effectively for free for up to six months is not the way to solve the UK’s jobs crisis.

    “Not only are the high street names involved […] in danger of exploiting participants, the scheme also poses a very real threat to the jobs and pay of existing workers. It is also far from clear whether the placements actually involve any genuine degree of training or work experience that will be of any use to the unemployed taking part.

    “The danger is that [this] is simply encouraging employers to continue using unpaid labour when what they should be doing is recruiting unemployed people into properly paid jobs.”

    Solicitors from Public Interest Lawyers in Birmingham this week issued letters to the heads of 15 companies to make them aware of legal proceedings they have lodged in the high court challenging the legality of such schemes.

    Their client, geology graduate Cait Reilly, is currently arguing in the high court that she was made to work unpaid in Poundland, contrary to the forced labour provisions in the Human Rights Act.

    Phil Shiner from Public Interest Lawyers said he welcomed the withdrawal of major high street chains from “exploitative” programmes.

    “Some major companies are now waking up and turning their backs on compulsory unpaid labour schemes. We have written to a number of major retailers involved in work-for-your-benefit schemes and asked them whether they intend to continue in light of what the Guardian has reported and we have brought to the attention of the courts.

    “Whilst our legal actions are against the Department of Work and Pensions, these household brands bear their own moral and social responsibility to ensure that they have nothing to do with these exploitative and ill-judged programmes.”

    Sainsbury’s, which has more than 1,000 stores in the UK, says it only now participates in the work trial programme, in which people work a maximum of 16 hours a week for four weeks in an actual job vacancy, and can pull out at any point without sanction.

    Sainsbury’s stressed that the work trials were “entirely voluntary” and, unlike work experience schemes, “candidates did not lose their benefits if they didn’t participate”.

    The supermarket added that it had taken on 4,300 employees through the scheme.

    Defending its continued participation in schemes that have elements of compulsion, Tesco said: “We take our responsibility as Britain’s biggest private sector employer seriously and are playing our part to help tackle unemployment in these challenging times.”

    Tesco said that over the last four months around 1,400 people had worked for free for a month as part of work experience in its stores, and since the scheme began 300 jobseekers had gained a job with the company.

    Article here.

    The Guardian

    February 10, 2012 at 8:04 pm

  2. Comment by work programme adviser on Indus Delta (here).

    “On a personal note, I was taken aside by one of the senior management team before the close of business on thursday afternoon, to be informally told that I would be facing a disciplinary procedure on monday for (I assume) non compliance of contract for not applying the required sanctions. The manager told me that I would be informed by email. The problem with this was that I was out of the business on annual leave today, so I have no idea what to expect when I go into work on monday. I have no time for preparation. Can anybody offer any advice? My only avenue of defence is the crushing workload involved and the fact that three of our team are off work sick with work related stress.”

    Indus Delta

    February 11, 2012 at 10:06 am

  3. Go-ahead for world’s first mobile euthanasia unit that will allow patients to die at home

    Teams will end the lives of additional 1,000 a year

    2,700 Dutch people a year choose assisted suicide

    The world’s first mobile team to administer euthanasia in patients’ homes will be launched next month.

    Units will be dispatched when family doctors refuse to administer lethal drugs on ‘ethical’ grounds.

    They are expected to send the number of euthanasia cases in Holland soaring, with pro-campaigners claiming they will end the lives of an additional 1,000 patients a year.

    Officially, 2,700 Dutch people a year choose assisted suicide, but critics say the real figure is far higher.

    The launch of the first unit, which will consist of at least a doctor and a nurse, was confirmed on Radio Netherlands by the country’s Right to Die Association.

    The group confirmed the unit in The Hague will be the first of six that will target borderline cases in which family GPs are reluctant to administer euthanasia.

    It is likely to be used with mentally ill patients or those with early dementia, involving the patient’s GP only ‘if possible’, the association has said.

    The group has previously claimed that 80 per cent of people with dementia or mental illnesses were being ‘missed’ by the country’s euthanasia laws.

    But the Federation of Dutch Physicians fears the teams may end the lives of people who could be treated.

    ‘In the worst cases, people could die who perhaps could have received some other help,’ a spokesman said.

    In Britain, Phyllis Bowman of Right to Life said she was ‘absolutely appalled’ by the development.

    ‘This is a real tragedy when you consider that in the Second World War the Dutch refused to implement the Nazi euthanasia programme.’

    She added: ‘People here should be warned that if we allowed euthanasia they might have a mobile unit at their door at some time.’

    The units, which are backed by the Dutch government, must conform to the 2002 law that made Holland the first country in the world to allow euthanasia since Nazi Germany.

    This law stipulates that a person can only quality for euthanasia if their suffering is lasting and unbearable.

    The units were first revealed by Health Minister Edith Schippers in the Dutch parliament late last year.

    She said that units ‘for patients who meet the criteria for euthanasia but whose doctors are unwilling to carry it out’ was worthy of consideration.

    In Holland, euthanasia is carried out by administering a strong sedative to put the patient in a coma, followed by a drug to stop breathing and cause death.

    The Dutch government insists ‘the greatest care’ is taken to offer euthanasia only to patients ‘who are suffering unbearably with no prospect of improvement’.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said in a General Synod debate this week that it would be a ‘disaster’ if assisted suicide was legalised in Britain.

    ‘To change the law on this subject is, I believe, to change something vital in our sense of the value of life itself,’ he said.

    Go-ahead for world’s first mobile euthanasia unit that will allow patients to die at home

    Daily Heil

    February 11, 2012 at 11:55 am

  4. The brief for Monster will surely not include making the search particularly efficient or accurate otherwise the proliferation of commision only Kitchen Designer/Bedroom designer/Experienced windows salesperson/solar panel installer etc. type jobs that clutter up my search every day would be abundantly clear. At least 10 of the jobs every day are of the above, an efficient search engine would make the vast number of fake/commission only jobs clear.


    February 15, 2012 at 11:40 am

    • Spot on Julia! Its going to be crap. Although they are indeed getting paid for it… doing a good job will kill their UK operations… I am sure they make much more than £20m a year. I have no information specifically, but I am sure UK & Ireland is one of their biggest markets outside the US.

      I hate those self-employed vacancies. They are effectively a business opportunity, but they are not jobs.

      You might find this interesting: http://www.dgjobs.co.uk/index4.php (a list of those vacancies you hate… mind you its limited to showing the latest 250)

      dgJobs is a week old site aimed to break away the real jobs from the fake, self-employed, agency, and workfare etc.

      Work Programme

      February 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      • It like a conflict of interest given their commercial interest in people continuing to use their website in addition to the jobcentre one.

        The old system circa 2003 was so much better and I never thought I would say that. I could at least search for jobs by keyword e.g. seasonal, xmas. Now I just wade through all the jobs posted every day since if I leave it more than a day the search engine can’t cope and will only display up to 250 of the results. And it doesn’t seem to be able to search/sort by full time/part time/up to 16 hours any more.

        Thanks for the link, have added it to my bookmarks!


        February 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm

  5. http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/104747/response/256917/attach/html/2/FoI%20519%2021.02.12.pdf.html

    Jobseekers will be requested to register AND upload a CV on the new website (its not mandatory though).

    Work Programme

    February 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    • Interesting although as usual the answers seem suitably vague.

      The automatic matching element has a sinister potential to entrap claimants (even more than the registration element). I can see this easily slipping into a ‘but you were made aware of this suitable vacancy via the website/alerts/something similar so why did you not apply?’. Presumably you could just use a fake name/address/email, unless they use NI number for registration purposes in some way the same way they do on the jobseeker phoneline.


      February 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm

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    July 31, 2012 at 10:43 am

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