Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Universal Jobmatch

Universal Jobmatch Down Down Down….

with 25 comments

As people are already commenting Universal Jobmatch is not working, has not worked since yesterday, and is not matching the Job.

Feel free to comment further.


I can think of a few things to start with, hard to log in, hard to use, sanctions not to mention, weren’t there some kind of fraudulent jobs…

DWP draws up plans to ditch ridiculed jobs website

Universal Jobmatch likely to be jettisoned after it was found to be carrying a series of fake, repeat or fraudulent jobs ads.

The government has drawn up plans to scrap its official jobs website, Universal Jobmatch, after recognising it is too expensive and that its purpose is undermined by fake and repeat job entries, according to leaked internal communications from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).  Guardian March 2014.

A cache of documents seen by the Guardian details how the government’s main website for job hunters – which tens of thousands of unemployed people have been required by the DWP to sign up to – is likely to be jettisoned when the contract for the service comes up for renewal in two years.

A year and a half after its launch, Universal Jobmatch has been ridiculed for hosting numerous fake jobs, including one for an MI6 “target elimination specialist” and “international couriers” for CosaNostra Holdings, as well as listings for pornographic websites.



Government is making changes to its Universal Jobmatch service to stop commercial job boards uploading vacancies in bulk.

In a statement sent to Recruiter, the Department for Work and Pensions revealed it will be limiting the bulk upload of job vacancies and will only allow employers to use Universal Jobmatch directly.

Commercial job boards will also be no longer able to daily refresh adverts to prioritise vacancies, while there will also be a drive to remove the duplication of job ads.

Recruiter understands the changes have been brought about due to frustration from jobseekers being redirected to other sites, as well as dealing with duplicate adverts. Three quarters of the 1.3m ads placed on the service come from commercial job boards, while SMEs and micro employers have found their adverts lost among the sheer volume of job board ads.

It is understood job boards have been given six weeks’ notice, with the changes set to come into effect on 22 May.

Commenting on the development, Minister for Employment, Damian Hinds said the changes have been brought about after user feedback, and will mean jobseekers can navigate the site more quickly and easily.

“With around 750,000 vacancies available across the UK at any one time, Universal Jobmatch remains a useful option for jobseekers and businesses alike,” he added.



Written by Andrew Coates

April 10, 2017 at 10:13 am

Posted in DWP, Fraud, Tories

Tagged with ,

Universal Jobmatch: as Contract Draws to an End Will Notorious Site Linger on…?

with 83 comments

Off to the Knacker’s Yard? 


Thanks to Gazza for this important news.

Did a quick google and a Guardian newspaper article had been updated to say that UJM does indeed come to an end in 2016. Apparently, it`s run by US owners MONSTER but the DWP told Monster what they wanted from the site and that`s when the site got sabotaged by spam and fake jobs etc….Monster demanded nearly £1 million to weed out all the fraudulent ad`s! So cost is an issue. DWP as usual take no responsibility for the uselessness of the site and waffle on about how job seekers benefit from the site blah, blah….

Another Commentator:

Universal Jobmatch Contract nearly OVER 08 May 2016 10:50 #20018
I think we’ll see UJM stay, just in a different form, with the removal of the job match part which has been universally panned and more put into the logged activities side of it, given how much it would cost for a new system and the fact some advisors have taken all this time to learn just how to get into it, this is closer to what I would personally expect.

Unemployed Movement.

In 2015 this was said (Unemployed Movement)

The Universal Jobmatch contract was awarded to the Monster Corporation on 25th January 2012. The contracted length was for 48 months. The value of the contract to that corporation was put at £15,110,107. The contract expires on or about 25 January 2016, about 7 to 8 months’ time.


The Guardian reported in 2014,

Reports that the Government’s flagship jobs website will be scrapped have been branded as “speculation” by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

A leaked reported in the Guardian claimed that there were plans to ditch Universal Jobmatch, which the DWP requires unemployed people to sign up to, when the contract for the service ends in 2016.

The site’s reputation has been marred after a number of fake job adverts appeared on it, such as one for a “target elimination specialist” for MI6.

However, a spokesperson for DWP refuted the claims.

“How people find work has become increasingly digital, so it’s right, and responsible, that DWP should continually look to ensure we are making the best offer to jobseekers,” the spokesperson said.

“The current Universal Jobmatch contract comes to an end in 2016 so any speculation on what will happen after that is premature.”

Firstly here are some of the ‘concerns’ that sparked that controversy (Wikipedia).

On 12 February 2014, it was revealed in a Freedom of Information Act request [12] that Monster didn’t win the Universal Jobmatch Tender falling into last place on value and second to last place on evaluation scoring;[13] until the service was put back out to tender.[14]

The Government paid Methods Consulting Limited and Jobsite UK (Worldwide) Limited £950,000 compensation,[15] who should have won both tenders, when the new contract was awarded. To date, the Government hasn’t specified its reason for placing the contract back out to tender but the fact it paid compensation seems to suggest it wasn’t the private company at fault.

Concerns are raised how Monsters “satisfactory” evaluation score and high bid in the first tender, resulted in a near-perfect evaluation score in the second tender and a bid of under half the original which in turn made them competitive. Allegations of insider dealing and corruption has been made because of this.[13]

This was also said in 2014 (Computer World)

In an open letter, Sal Iannuzzi, CEO of Monster and Neil Couling, head of Jobcentre Plus, wrote: “The current contract between DWP and Monster runs until 2016, but the DWP – as with any large government procurement – will plan and consider all options for how it delivers the service in the future. But whatever that future is, Universal Jobmatch is here to stay, which will be of relief to the 500,000 employers and millions of people looking for a new job who rely on it every day.”

Those using the site, obliged to or not, can add plenty of faults with Universal Jobmatch beyond the fake ads scandal.

It is stiff, all of the jobs advertised come from elsewhere, from sites which we are already registered with (and which are much more user-friendly, though Monster itself as ‘problems’), and there seems problems about logging in are widespread.

This year Universal Jobmatch would not accept my password and I had to change it – which took a fair amount of time.

It’s hard to imagine that is an isolated case.


If you are required to sign up to Universal Jobmatch you still do not have to tick the box giving the DWP access to your account and can untick the box giving them permission to send you emails. 

Now the contract is drawing to a close we await further news from the ever-so-transparent DWP and Monster….


Written by Andrew Coates

May 10, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Universal Jobmatch: Not Good Enough for Civil Service Jobs!!!

with 369 comments

Ironic isn’t it? The Government ploughs millions of pounds of taxpayers money into ‘developing’ Universal Jobmatch by tendering it out to Monster who modified their pretty-poor job board (no, not the one they use for monster.co.uk, one even worse than that!) into “DirectGov” colours, just to add functionality of CV upload and tracking for jobseekers.

They replaced the ‘jobpoints’ with computers to enforce the use of Universal Jobmatch, no work coach mentions the words “job board” nowadays… the new buzz word is “Universal Jobmatch” (emphasis on new, its not new by a long chalk, excuse the pun!) and they are overly proud of this despite this matching “technology” being widely used for the last 10 years – back then the average broadband connection speed was just 512 kbit. The average Ipswich 3G speed is 4 times that. If advisers do not mention the DWP’s website 30 times an hour, they don’t get paid… (or that is what you could reasonably presume)

Except, that new “Work Coach” you see (unless you have that dinosaur hanging on until he or she can cash in their pension) more-than-likely got their job from the Civil Service Resourcing website.


The Civil Service knows that Universal Jobmatch is crap, which explains why they have additionally purchased the right to use identical functionality e-recruitment software called WCN-Public from WCN (or Worlds Career Network).

It doesn’t stop there, they provide a long range of e-recruitment solutions to the public sector from Government departments to police, colleges, fire services and even councils. Which raises the question of “Why didn’t they get WCN to do Universal Jobmatch?” (even if Universal Jobmatch was just a “friendly name” for WCN-Public software on that website)

Or even, my original question… Why is the Civil Service and these other departments not using Universal Jobmatch for their recruitment solutions? Keeping in mind that the website cost around £17m to produce (for Monster to customise the skin/look/design a little) and around £6m a year to host.

Universal Jobmatch is so last-gen…  WCN-Public is a “Next Generation Human Resources” (NGHR as an acronym) ” initiative for Government.  Is the Government looking to replace Universal Jobmatch already? Could NGHR be a pilot for whats to come?

For this money, DWP has universaljobmatch.co.uk but has never used this domain for the website… not even a redirect! Some adviser at Ipswich Jobcentre Plus was directing some unemployed person who was enquiring about benefits, and just improvised the address, basically… “Make sure you ring up today to make sure you get some money coming in. If you phone today your claim will start today.” (really good customer service… where could it go wrong?) “You should search for work on Universal Jobmatch…” (confidence dipping a bit, err… as the customer was writing it down) “www [pause] dot  [pause] uni-versal  [pause] job [pause] match  [pause] “. The man who spoke little English was a little surprised, expecting further words… (me too!) they have no idea the website address, surprised they didn’t just say “search for universal jobmatch in Google”. Would have been more correct.

WCN Public

From WCN’s website…

WCN is the leading supplier of Public Sector e-Recruitment systems, working with many clients over our 15 year history, including HM Revenue & Customs, Hampshire County Council, DFID (Department for International Development), Welsh Assembly Government plus many Universities, Police Forces and Fire and Rescue Services. WCN also provides the e-Recruitment technology for UK Central Government via the Next Generation Human Resources (NGHR) initiative working with organisations such as the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Work & Pensions.

Features include:-

  • Job posting to Intranet or Internet (or other sites)
  • Job specific online application forms
  • Vacancy authorisation process
  • Candidate ability to search and apply for vacancies
  • Candidate alerts
  • Talent banking
  • Standard pre-screen functionality including mandatory questions
  • Password protected candidate communication centre
  • CV uploading facility
  • Flag agency candidates
  • Selection panel functionality
  • Reference functionality
  • Calendar integration
  • Reporting suite, with ability to create own reports and download to Excel

Work Plan Booklets: What Power does your Work ‘Coach’ Have?

with 120 comments

What powers do the ‘work coaches’ (the stupid new name for Advisers at the Jobcentre) have?

Certainly not super-powers.

Hat-Tip: Obi Wan Kenobi

My Work Plan Booklet Guidance Guidance Queries and Help.

Is the use of the Work Plan Booklet Mandatory?


9. ‘this booklet is not a mandatory product for demonstrating evidence of work search and claimants have the right to demonstrate what they have done to look for work through whichever means they deem suitable and most effective”

10. “For example, the claimant may prefer to use Universal Jobmatch to record their activities and their plans for what they will do to look for work or may bring in a CV that they have developed to demonstrate that they have undertaken this activity.

Claimants can use their Universal Jobmatch account to show details of saved jobs; saved searches; CVs created and saved; their application history and activity history. 

There is also a free text area that the claimant can use to record their plans and any specific actions they will  undertake. Claimants should still use their planning skills even if they are not using the My Work Plan booklet, and the Work Coach should be encouraging  and checking the claimant’s planning skills.”


For more information see:


You have to use the Universal Job Match, or rather, get on it.

But….is it compulsory to left the ‘Coach’ see your Universal Job match account?


This Freedom of Information request relates to the recently
established option for a Jobcentre Plus adviser to mandate the use
of Universal Jobmatch and, additionally, the option to issue a
‘Jobseeker Direction’ to submit a profile/CV to the service.

I have established, through reading DWP materials (Universal
Jobmatch Toolkit and FAQs), that the following is true:

● A claimant CAN NOT be mandated to use Universal Jobmatch on their
home computer, due to the use of cookies under Regulation 6 of the
EU e-privacy directive.

● A claimant CAN be mandated to use Universal Jobmatch on a DWP
‘Internet Access Device’.

● A claimant CAN be mandated to create a profile/CV via an
‘Internet Access Device’.

● Where access to the Universal Jobmatch account has not been
granted by the claimant, to the DWP, a Jobcentre Plus adviser can
require the claimant to provide print outs or visual confirmation
of various sections within the account.

More see here.

I personally provide ‘print-outs’ of my job search: I don’t want nosey-parker coachy-coachys looking at my every move.


Written by Andrew Coates

November 1, 2014 at 11:29 am

Older Workers Face Job Discrimination on Universal Job Match

with 43 comments

I’m sure there’s plenty of people here (cough, cough….) who could confirm this without even stirring.

In fact being a bit ‘Older‘ I was listening to the News at One, drinking me 99 Tea and heard this……

The government’s Universal Jobmatch website is publishing adverts using terms that could be breaking anti-age discrimination laws, the BBC has found.

It also found similar jobs ads posted online by Reed – one of the UK’s biggest employment agencies.

On both sites, hundreds of employers say they want “recent graduates”, which lawyers say implies they are looking for younger applicants.

Many older job seekers say they are being frozen out of the jobs market.

A typical example of wording used in job adverts reads: “My client is recruiting a recent graduate to join their extremely busy team. You should be looking for a career, have good customer service skills and good administration skills including data entry.”

The BBC showed some of the adverts to James Davies, a solicitor from law firm Lewis Silkin, who specialises in age discrimination cases.

“A recent graduate obviously favours younger candidates,” he said. “It would be lawful if it could be justified, but it’s difficult to see why an employer needs a recent graduate when someone who graduated 10 or 20 years ago wouldn’t be equally suitable.”

‘Ambitious young people’

One advert on Universal Jobmatch, which is used by millions of job seekers, was even more blatant.

“We are always looking to recruit talented, ambitious young people who may fit well into one of our progressive thinking departments such as media, including social media, TV, press officer or other departments such as office administration,” it read.

According to Mr Davies the company responsible, Leisure Leagues, based in Warwick, which says it is the UK’s largest provider of five-a-side football leagues, could be breaking age discrimination laws with this wording.

“Here we have a company which is clearly opening itself up to problems,” he said. “An older person applying for a job with this company who fails to get it will be able to point to the term ‘young’ in this advert and will be some way down the line to a successful claim against them.”

The BBC contacted Leisure Leagues to ask them why they were seeking “young people”.

A spokesman said he could see nothing wrong with it because in the leisure industry people needed to be young and fit. He said occasional refereeing duties might be required, although the job advert did not mention this requirement.

The company later emailed to say the advert had been withdrawn and an employee had been disciplined. But a week later, the job advert was still posted on Universal Jobmatch.

On Reed’s website, more than 800 jobs specified “recent graduate”. There were even a dozen adverts looking for a “young graduate”.

Reed told the BBC it agreed such terms were “inappropriate” and as a result of the BBC investigation would be changing company policy to ensure similar terms would not be used in future. Reed also said it would be re-training its staff in equality laws.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions, the government department responsible for Universal Jobmatch, said it did not think terms such as “recent graduate” were discriminatory. “We have thorough checks and balances in place and remove anything which doesn’t meet our standards,” it said in a statement.

‘Unconscious bias’

The government is trying to encourage people to work longer and retire later, but older jobseekers say they often feel ignored by employers.

Simon Silvie, 57, a former senior manager for a national IT firm, from Barrow, Cumbria, said he had applied for hundreds of jobs after being made redundant 18 months ago, but had rarely been invited to an interview.

“I would say it is age discrimination,” he said. “However, it is so hard to prove. I think that the people who are perpetrating this don’t even realise that they are doing it. It’s an unconscious bias against age.”

Ros Altmann, the government’s business champion for older workers, said there should be clearer instructions for people posting job ads, and possibly sanctions.

“We really do need to change our attitudes to older workers,” she said. “There’s no reason why you can’t have talented, ambitious people of any age – they don’t have to be young.”

The government has phased out the official retirement age, and raised the age at which some workers can get the state pension to 68.

The average retirement age for men is 64.7 and 63.1 for women. The Department for Work and Pensions said this week it would like the average retirement age to rise by as much as six months every year.


An immediate response was this,

Employers should be barred from only advertising jobs for recent graduates, the Government’s business champion for older workers has said.

Ros Altmann said the term was a “euphemism” used to recruit younger people and suggested there should be sanctions against companies that use it in recruitment adverts.

Ms Altmann disagreed with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) by suggesting the phrase was discriminatory against older jobseekers and should be stamped out.

BBC Radio 4’s World At One discovered that hundreds of job adverts listed on the Government’s Universal Jobmatch website asked for “recent graduates” to apply.


My only comment is that any change in the form of words these agencies use is not going to make a blind bit of difference.


Is it Compulsory to Register with Universal Jobmatch? What Evidence of Jobsearch do we have to provide?

with 89 comments


Pronounced Uooj.

Many people ask us: is it compulsory to Register with Universal Jobmatch?

What can the DWP force us to provide as a record of our job seeking?

Some answers.



Hat-Tip: Obi Wan Kenobi

Current UJ Toolkit as of 15/4/14.

92. We cannot specify to a JSA claimant how they provide us with records of
their jobsearch activity and Universal Jobmatch will not change this – it is
not therefore possible to require JSA claimants to give DWP access to
their Universal Jobmatch account.


No Change.

Now this is also important (also from Obi)

I’m sure many of us had had new demands placed on us (er….me, to start with).

Here’s something very interesting I’ve just dug up on the What Do They Know website.

From: Operations FOI Requests
Department for Work and Pensions

11 June 2014.

Annex 1 for 2537 WDTK Travis.pdf

The Jobseekers Agreement


Achievable – any agreed actions must be actually achievable.
Activities that are clearly beyond the claimants capabilities or that are
simply unreasonable should not be agreed.

Realistic – job aims and job seeking activity must be realistic, taking
into account the claimants skills, experience, capabilities, etc and the
local labour market. For example, it is pointless agreeing a job goal
where the jobs in question are not available within the areas in which
the claimant is willing to work.


So the next time you make a Jobseekers Agreement out, make sure the adviser is aware of these rules.

In other words don’t agree to do something silly like 20 jobs apps per week.


Written by Andrew Coates

July 29, 2014 at 9:39 am

Universal Job Match Ratchets up 60% Fakes.

with 70 comments

Hundreds of thousands of people hunting for work on a ­government jobs website may have been chasing posts that never existed, ministers admit.

Nearly 60% of employment advertised on the Universal Jobmatch scheme could have been placed by bogus firms – some of which have been demanding upfront fees from applicants for fake background checks.

A third of a million job vacancies advertised on the government’s official website for jobseekers are suspected of being bogus, falsely promoted or against the rules, documents seen by the Guardian show.Frank Field, a Labour MP and former minister, has established that officials are concerned about more than 350,000 vacancies promoted on the Universal Jobmatch site, which must be used by unemployed people to apply for jobs in order to claim benefits. This amounts to around half of the jobs currently being advertised on the flagship website that Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, said would “revolutionise” the process of looking for work.

Reports the Guardian.

Field started asking questions about the website after discovering that some of his constituents had been scammed out of money by false employers, who asked for bank details upfront and cash for criminal record checks before disappearing.

He believes the whole website is “bedevilled with fraud” and “out of control”, and is calling on Duncan Smith to “get a grip” on the contract, which is managed independently by a private recruiter called Monster.

In a letter to Field, the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that more than 352,659 job adverts might be in breach of the Universal Jobmatch website’s terms and conditions. These rules specify that employers must advertise the position fairly and comply with the law, including advertising an “actual job or work opportunity”, not using premium rate phone numbers, paying at least the minimum wage and not costing the applicant any money to start.

In a letter dated 27 February, DWP officials are contacting the employers promoting these opportunities to “seek evidence of compliance” within the next five days or face the termination of their accounts. The DWP said this “exercise” would take around three weeks.

It comes after an investigation by Channel 4 News estimated last month that more than 11,000 positions currently advertised on the government’s Universal Jobmatch website may not actually exist, ranging from vacancies for sous chefs to dry-cleaners. In its early days, the website was ridiculed for advertising joke jobs for MI5 hitmen, mafia couriers and even prostitutes.

Field claims that many jobseekers have been robbed of large sums of money by a sham company that advertised fake jobs and actually conducted bogus interviews inside a jobcentre. He said the victims were informed that their new employer was a nonentity and that they had been ripped off on arrival at what they expected to be their first day of work.

“The heart of the government’s welfare reform programme is bedevilled with fraud and, in its current state, it is out of control,” he said. “Anyone can place an advertisement on the site in the space of five minutes by ticking a few boxes. Ministers need to get a grip before more people fall victim to fraudsters preying on them with the helping hand of a major government department.”

Field has now asked the National Audit Office to investigate the scale of job fraud as a “matter of urgency”.

The Mirror today.

Employment Minister Esther McVey revealed 179 businesses advertising 350,000 of the 600,000 places on offer through the website are being investigated.

Labour MP Frank Field, who unearthed the figures, said some jobseekers were being asked to pay £65 for criminal checks.

They later found out the firm did not exist.

Mr Field said: “Something rotten appears to be taking hold of Jobcentre Plus where the Government is allowing ­fraudsters into the heart of its welfare operations.

“Anyone can place an advertisement on the site in the space of five minutes by ticking a few boxes.

“Ministers need to get a grip before more people fall victim to fraudsters preying on them.”

Daily Mirror.

BBC (an Hour ago).

The government’s Universal Jobmatch website “is bedevilled with fraud and, in its current state, it is out of control”, a senior Labour MP has said.

Frank Field said some jobseekers had been tricked into paying £65 each for bogus criminal background checks while applying for jobs that did not exist.

More than 350,000 job adverts on the website might breach the website’s rules in some way, he added.

But the government said the “vast majority” of vacancies were genuine.

Mr Field said the Department for Work and Pensions had written to him admitting that 179 employer accounts advertising 352,569 jobs might potentially be in breach of the website’s terms and conditions, which dictate that adverts must describe an “actual job or work opportunity” in an accurate way.

The advertisements must be for jobs paying at least the minimum wage, must not be duplicates and must not include premium-rate phone numbers, the website continues.

‘Revolutionary’ But Mr Field said: “Anyone can place an advertisement on the site in the space of five minutes by ticking a few boxes.

“Start Quote

We crack down on those who don’t play by the rules”

Department for Work and Pensions spokesman

“Ministers need to get a grip before more people fall victim to fraudsters preying on them with the helping hand of a major government department.”

In a press release, he said he had received evidence from constituents “suggesting jobseekers have been robbed of large sums of money by a sham company that was able to advertise fake jobs on Universal Jobmatch and stage what turned out to be bogus job interviews under a false identity, actually in Jobcentre Plus itself.

“Jobseekers who applied for jobs with the sham company were required, as part of the application process, to provide bank details and an upfront payment of £65 for criminal background checks.

“However, upon arrival at what they expected to be their first day of work, the victims were informed that their new employer was a non-entity and that they had been ripped off.”

Mr Field said the Department for Work and Pensions had told him that the 179 accounts were being “contacted to seek evidence of compliance”.

But he demanded an urgent investigation from the National Audit Office of the scale of fraud on the website.

A spokesman for the department said: “Universal Jobmatch revolutionises the way jobseekers look for work and it has already helped many jobseekers find the jobs they want through the millions of vacancies posted since 2012.

“The truth is that the vast majority of employers post genuine jobs, and we crack down on those who don’t play by the rules.

“We also regularly monitor the site and remove jobs that don’t meet our rules, such as duplicate advertisements.”

What a bloody shambles!


Written by Andrew Coates

March 6, 2014 at 11:32 am