Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Jobmatch, Concerns Grow.

with 47 comments

A new site is to be launched this autumn., Universal Jobmatch.

On 08 August 2012 the DWP announced the intention to launch Universal Jobmatch by late Autumn. A critical set of questions arose as whether or how it would be mandatory under Universal Credit or for any current or prospective recipient of Jobseekers Allowance. Today the DWP refused to answer these questions in an attempt to keep policy secret and preserve privilege and hide how it will beMandatory by Default.

They add,

As mentioned in the Open Rights Group articleLooking for a Job goes Orwellian the way Universal Jobmatch has been developed without any dedicated Privacy, Equality or Human Rights impact assessments indicates it is not compatible with Data Protection legislation and engages the Human Rights Act (ECHR Article  8) principle that “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.”

The saga of Christine Omotoso trying to get further information from the DWP through Freedom of Information requests is here.

Of interest,

Are there plans, expectation or requirements that everyone claiming Jobseekers Allowance will have to register for Universal Jobmatch and this registration will allow an “adviser” to view evidence of Jobsearch activity on Universal Jobmatch?


The Department is not required to disclose information in connection with this part of your request because we believe that sections 35 and, where relevant, 42 of the Freedom of  Information Act apply.

For the moment we learn however, from the DWP’s own document, “Frequently Asked Questions”,

Q8. Does everyone have to register to search for jobs?

This should be read in the light of this (from New Directions),

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.

Those with great faith in the goodness of human beings will say that advisers will never force people to show that they have searched on Universal Jobmatch. Or that nobody  on the Work Programme will be made to sit in front of a screen all day with their activity on this site closely monitored.

There is also more evidence of the reliance on the Internet and the exclusion of many people who do not have access to this, are unused to it, or unable to use it.

Still the DWP breezily states,

Q3. Will jobseekers be disadvantaged if they do not have access to the internet at home?
The service will be available from anywhere that the internet can be accessed, including internet cafes, libraries, and mobile devices.
The most important thing is to help jobseekers to get the training they need, to be confident in using the internet, searching the web and know how to open an email account, so that they can receive the full benefits of the service.


Written by Andrew Coates

September 24, 2012 at 7:00 am

47 Responses

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  1. The welfare reform act posits a 35 hour a week jobsearch requirement. This is due to come into force possibly before next year/universal credit!

    Frankly this has done for me. I cannot see how anyone can meet that.

    Ghost Whistler

    September 24, 2012 at 7:05 am

  2. 35 hours a week jobsearch? What lunatic detached from the real world thought that utterly impractical measure up – especially at a time when hundreds of people are frequently applying for each scarce job vacancy nowadays?

    Where are all the computers going to come from?

    Where are all the offices going to come from to accomodate the deperate throngs of jobseekers – especially when libraries are vanishing all over the place?

    What about the millions of benefit claimants who can’t even use a computer in the first place?

    As usual, this hare-brained measure has got nothing to do with job creation. It is a treadmill designed to harass the unemployed which will only result in an increase in the number of (unsuitable) applicants applying for each scarce job vacancy .

    Above all, making more people apply for jobs cannot and will not result in an increase in the number of filled vacancies, for the simple reason that only one person can be successful each time – but try telling that to this uncaring and unlistening and completely out of touch Government.


    September 24, 2012 at 7:42 am

    • I am always looking for a job, and even dream of it (er,hum) so I do 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, ‘Job search’.

      Andrew Coates

      September 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

      • To Andrew Coates: Do the DWP accept that on your jobsearch diary?!!


        September 24, 2012 at 8:18 am

      • I shall offer to have a chip installed in my brain.

        Andrew Coates

        September 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm

  3. Nevermind where will the computers come from (as if the unemployed can afford to buy or upgrade their pc’s – min is 6 years old and needs upgrading!), what exactly are you going to do for 6+ hours daily to find work? This is ridiculous. As someone with ADD reading through these websites is actually not easy at all. Nevermind 7 hours daily!

    Ghost Whistler

    September 24, 2012 at 8:01 am

    • FAO “Ghost Whistler”

      It is not uncommon in Work Programme offices for large queues forming for a shot of “the computer”. That has been the case for years – even before the days of the Work Programme, so the position can only worsen if this latest ludicrous proposal is implemented. My comment about the scarcity of computers is therefore highly relevant.

      You are quite right though about many unempoloyed being unable to afford computers at home – which means even less computers!

      And yes, you are also right about how any person can spend 7 hours a day, every day, seeking work which for most of them does not exist!


      September 24, 2012 at 8:15 am

  4. Apart from harassing the unemployed with this latest punitive 35 hours-a-week treadmill measure, the other reason why it is being proposed is to do with behavioural control.

    This out of touch Government relies on the propaganda that the unemployed are all anti-social hoodies free to roam around all day causing alcohol and drug-fueled mayhem, so the Government wants to assemble the feral unemployed underclass into a supervised jobsearch routine – under the double-speak pretext of helping them back to work, which, of course, does not exist is sufficient quantity for all of the unemployed!!

    Tracking and supervising what individuals do with their time is undoubtedly the Big Brother intrusion nightmare come true.


    September 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

  5. ffs, “searching” for non-existent jobs for 35 hours a week is almost certain to drive a person insane.

    Hannibal Lechter

    September 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    • Of course, it’s all about “taxpayers’ money”. The argument rolled out by government is since the unemployed are living on the money of hard-working taxpayers it is reasonable to push the unemployed into ever more demeaning and punitive programmes, and placing ever more strict conditions on their behaviour. We are going back to the old Victorian attitudes to the poor, where strict conditionality is applied to all welfare claimants. I foresee the introduction of food stamps next. Can’t have the “workshy” having a few of life’s little luxuries on taxpayers’ expense now can we…

      Sir Scab

      September 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm

  6. There needs to be an immediate general election called. Though I have no confidence in the Labour Party and indeed they can be blamed for starting this moronic crap in the first place, the present UNELECTED shower is bascially totally insane and need to be stopped in their tracks (by force if necessary). Just how fucking THICK or plain bloody evil can you be to believe that people are unemployed because they are all’workshy’? There AREN’T enough jobs in our crap economy for all those who want and need one. If I can understand this with my GCSE in economics then can’t that thick cretin Ian Dumbo Smith, Camoron and his toffy-nosed bumchum Osbourne?


    September 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm

  7. Look on the bright side, when 1.6 million JSA claimants are all sitting in Providers’ offices 35 hours per week proving they are genuinely looking for work it will be hard for anybody to claim that “it’s easy to get a job if you look hard enough”.

    Or am I looking too hard for a silver lining?


    September 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm

  8. they kick you out or ask you to leave for ‘spending too long’ in jobsearch at work programmme and jobcentre!

    something survived...

    September 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    • The same happened to me. My local jobcentre has only 8 jobpoints, and of them at least two are out of commission at any given time. So space for jobsearch is at a premium, and I was once shooed out of the JCP for spending “too long” at the jobpoint. I tried to explain the conditionality attached to all JSA claimants regarding jobsearch, but the security guard (sic) would have none of it. You couldn’t make it up!

      Sir Scab

      September 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

  9. I might be missing the point here but I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

    If you look at question 8 here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/universal-jobmatch-faqs.pdf

    it states:

    Q8. Does everyone have to register to search for jobs?
    No, but if not, jobseeker’s will not be able to access to all the facilities listed in question 7.

    So the answer (on the face of it) is no, you don’t have to join their jobmatch service.

    What’s the problem?


    September 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    • Maybe the problem is this:

      ‘With regard to your question about plans to make registration mandatory, the service will greatly enhance employment prospects, so we expect most JSA claimants will register willingly. However, where registration is deemed by a Jobcentre Plus adviser as reasonable in terms of improving employment prospects, but the claimant will not do so willingly, the adviser will be able to require registration through the issue of a Jobseeker’s Direction. Similarly, under Universal Credit, where registration with the service is deemed by a Jobcentre Plus adviser as reasonable in terms of improving job prospects, this will be included within the Claimant Commitment. Failure to comply with any part of the Claimant Commitment, without good reason, will lead to a benefit sanction.’



      September 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      • OK, so it looks like mandation by stealth. Thanks for the link.


        September 26, 2012 at 7:26 am

  10. Lucozade :
    OK, so it looks like mandation by stealth. Thanks for the link.

    Same old story then – “you’re quite free to not do what I ask you to. But if you choose not to then I’ll make sure you starve”.
    Orwell and Kafka would recognise this.


    September 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

  11. Here is part of the guidance notes on the new Claimant Commitment regarding “Work Search”:

    “The default requirement [of the Claimant Commitment Work Search] will be that claimants must ‘treat looking for work as their full-time job’ and look for any full-time work paying at least the minimum wage within 90 minutes of their home.”

    Yes, “9 to 5” jobseeking with a one hour break gives 7 hours every day, which gives 35 hours every week – a full time job in itself right enough.

    It doesn’t seem to matter of course that there are not sufficient full-time or even part-time jobs available for all of the unemployed in the first place!!

    Pure vindictiveness.


    September 26, 2012 at 9:40 am

    • This is going back to the days of the old “unemployed schools” where claimants were huddled together all day long in derelict building; suspect IBS intends to commission some redundant aircraft hangars.

      Old Timer

      September 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

      • I wonder how these people are expected to do this Job Search?

        “Ipswich tries to curb street drinkers by banning super-strength cider and beer

        Street drinkers as young as 35 are dying from extra-strong booze so Ipswich is hoping retailers will observe a voluntary ban.”

        (from the Guardian today)

        “From afar it is a pretty wooded area, dappled in the autumn sunshine, which breaks up the urban concrete landscape next to Ipswich’s renowned New Wolsey theatre.

        But closer inspection reveals this to be the regular haunt of the town’s notorious community of hardened street drinkers.”


        It[‘s all very well for them to try and ban poor people from drinking strong lager and white cider, but this will not work, and even if it did, do the ‘hardened street drinkers’ fit into this 40 hour a week Job Serahc stuff?

        Andrew Coates

        September 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    • So, 35 hours job search for £71 per week is far below the minimum wage. Is there a case there?

      Paul Williams

      November 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm

  12. Wonder where they got the idea for this?:
    “The Victorian Treadmill was really a sort of giant cylinder more than it was the streamlined exercise machine that tortures the overweight and the anorexic today. The Victorian Treadmill could be as high as six feet and could stretch so wide that almost forty people could be punished at once.

    Those people would be separated from each other by vertical partitions, giving them only about two feet of space apiece as they continually stepped on the revolving stairs.

    How long do you spend on your treadmill? Thirty minutes? An hour? Two hours? Try eight hours! Many prisoners spent a full day’s job on the treadmill, granted a five minute reprieve every quarter of an hour”
    Images here:

    Looks remarkably like a “structured jobsearch” session


    September 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    • If you haven’t read it already then can I recommend Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison” to you. It’s a fascinating work, and very readable (not something that can be said of all of Foucault’s books). Here’s an overview:


      I don’t work for the publisher, by the way.


      September 27, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      • Indeed.

        The ideas now circulating on surveillance of the unemployed remind my of Bentham’s ‘Pantopican’.


        Andrew Coates

        September 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

      • The use of prisoners in public works, cleaning the city streets or repairing the highways, was practised in Austria, Switzerland and certain of the United States such as Pennsylvania. These convicts distinguished by their ‘infamous dress’ and shaven heads ‘were brought before the public. The sport of the idle and vicious they often became incensed, and naturally took violent revenge upon the aggressors. To prevent them returning injuries which might be inflicted on them, they were encumbered with iron chains and collars to which bombshells were attached, to be dragged along while they performed their degrading service, under the eyes of keepers armed with swords, blunderbusses and other weapons of destruction.

        – Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison


        September 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      • Cont…

        This practice was abolished practically everywhere at the end of the eighteenth century of the beginning of the nineteenth century. The public exhibition of prisoners was maintained in France in 1831, despite violent criticism – ‘a disgusting scene’ said Real; it was finally abolished in April 1848. While the chain-gang, which had dragged convicts across the whole of France, as far as Brest and Toulon, was replaced in 1837 by inconspicuous black-painted cell-carts. Punishment has ceased to be a spectacle.

        – Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison


        September 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm

  13. JBS :
    If you haven’t read it already then can I recommend Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison” to you. It’s a fascinating work, and very readable (not something that can be said of all of Foucault’s books). Here’s an overview:
    I don’t work for the publisher, by the way.

    “The switch to prison was not immediate. There was a more graded change, though it ran its course rapidly. Prison was preceded by a different form of public spectacle. The theater of public torture gave way to public chain gangs.


    September 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm

  14. The DWP must be made to answer all the questions put to them regarding Universal Jobmatch or drop it.

    Put the DWP (especially Iain Duncan Smith) in front of a parliamentary questions board, make the need to answer all questions MANDATORY OR LOSE YOUR JOB – let’s see how the government like that.

    They like to make the Work Programme mandatory for JSA claimants, let’s make this MANDATORY for IDS AND THE DWP.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    October 3, 2012 at 10:46 am

  15. “Q3. …The most important thing is to help jobseekers to get the training they need, to be confident in using the internet, searching the web and know how to open an email account, so that they can receive the full benefits of the service.”

    This would imply that the use of Jobmatch is to train people to a basic level of computer literacy, something which anyone who can post on a forum such as this one already has. A good reason not to have to sign up for it (or, in practise, be mandated to it) I would have thought.


    October 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    • lol just say you post on Ipswich Unemployed Action lol 🙂

      Internet Newbie

      October 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    • Aren’t you in favour of food vouchers for the poor (anything else is a luxury) or is that another soft drink? 🙂


      October 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    • Lucozade , so, a minority who according to you ‘abuse the system’ by using their benefits for drugs, fags booze etc would force the majority who struggle to survive on their entitlement onto a debit card system – I reckon you read way too many yankie papers! We live in the UK where we have always been known to be supportive and relatively non discriminatory – this kind of attitude where divisions are made even between those on benefits is APPALLING – why not spotlight the wealthy elite mate – their the ones who ABUSE the system the most!

      tut tut, shame on you!


      October 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm

  16. The doc below show use of weasel like words to imply registration is mandatory/

    Universal Jobmatch and Government Gateway

    Registering on Government Gateway

    A new, modern, online job posting and automated matching service will be launched on 19 November

    This will be an essential tool to help you find work and I will be talk to you about how to make best use of the system each time you visit the Jobcentre. In order to access the new service you will need to have a Government Gateway account. You can create this account now, to ensure you are able to access Universal Jobmatch when it becomes available.

    I have listed below the action you need to take to set up your Government Gateway account. Please do this within the next two days. If you need any help do not hesitate to contact me.

    1. To register with Government Gateway go to http://www.gateway.gov.uk

    2. Enter the Government Gateway and click the Register button.

    3. You will be asked to input your name, your email address and a password containing 8-12 numbers and letters.

    4 You will be allocated be allocated a User ID. Please keep a note of this as you will need to use both the User ID and the password you created to access Universal Jobmatch. DWP will need a note of your User ID No. to allow access to your account, please bring it with you when you next sign on.

    5 You will receive a confirm email from the Government Gateway. You need to click on the link within this email to complete the registration process. Please note that the link will expire within 24 hours. After that time you need to go back into Government Gateway and request a new confirmation email through the ‘Your Account” section.

    Source: http://s7.postimage.org/wnq6yk79m/dwp_gov_uk_site051.jpg


    November 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    • Seeing as the Suffolk Library Internet service is close to breakdown (since the libraries were turned into a private charity) – they have not upgraded their Browser – how will claimants (even asuming everyone is computer literate) use this properly?

      Andrew Coates

      November 11, 2012 at 10:43 am

    • Spaceship:

      This letter doesn’t contain any legal authority or regulations which are now established in law such as Jobseekers Allowance (Employment Skills and Enterprise Scheme)Regulations 2011, without which this letter is illegal also.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      November 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm

  17. wow this is all suppose to help? save the money, effort and give us a job .gov : p


    November 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm

  18. I think it’s seriously time for a call of no confidence in the present government from The Labour Party, all the other Minor Parties and all Unions.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm

  19. Have a look at this link, it has a picture of the supposed new Universal Jobmatch form people will be issued with from their respective Jobcentres.


    The one thing that stands out clearly to me about this new form is that it doesn’t contain any legal authority or regulations which are now established in law, such as Jobseekers Allowance (Employment Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011 and it is therefore illegal, if it’s the right one.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    November 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

  20. I will register with a rather unique email that would be free from spammers as 1) its not easily generated and 2) its unknown

    Something like jHQveJZ7_fd7L5hYVwm-4t7XTD.6xT6XH@mydomain.com

    Wonder if I receive any emails (other than from the service). If so the information would have been hacked OR sold on by Monster…

    Work Programme

    November 15, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    • Good idea, should this happen then Monster have broken the Data Protection Act 1998, also the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 and would be subject to prosecution under both, I would think.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      November 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm

  21. Universal Jobmatch is NOT compulsory and any Jobcentre staff that pretend it is could be guilty of “official misdirection”:



    December 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm

  22. im new to this universal job match, and to be honest dont know alot about computers or the web. Ive been in the building trade and had no intrest in it. But because im out of work the dwp have got me signf up to this programme. Can i opt out ?

    Paul Wilkinson

    January 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    • Have a look at this site http://universaljobmatch.eu/
      Having signed up though I’m not sure whether that can be reversed. Maybe just refuse to use the site. This amy lead to threats of sanctions though so be prepared for that.


      January 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      • The problem could be in the future when all serives go online [or access to services online only]. That means if it ever works properly everybody will eventually need a http://www.gateway.gov.uk account or what ever it’s known by then. Would that mean those in work looking for a career change would also have too sign up to ujm ?


        January 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    If your computers freeze out and stick when we are on the UNIVERSAL JOBMATCH WEBSITE and we then lose the work or activity we have been mandated by the JCP / PROVIDER etc. We will get sanctioned for it. As it would have been the fault of the public library service, would the public library service take full responsibility and give evidence on our behalf to sanction makers stipulating that their computers do not support the full functiion of ujm


    January 25, 2013 at 3:54 pm

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