Work programme provider: we know jobsearch & Jobmatch are pointless, but do them anyway

Thought I’d throw this recording out there.

Here’s a little more evidence that the DWP and its work programme providers are perfectly aware that JSA jobsearch and signing-on regimes are not about helping people into work. At all. Those regimes exist only to force people through more and more hoops to keep claiming JSA.

In the recording below (made in mid-2014), you’ll hear a Reed work programme adviser tell me and Angela Smith that Angela needn’t worry too much about the jobs she selected to apply for in Universal Jobmatch, or whether or not those jobs were right for her. (Angela has a Master’s degree and now works as a support officer. She has cerebral palsy. She was signing on for JSA at the time of this meeting). Anyway – the adviser said Angela needn’t worry about the jobs she applied for in Jobmatch, because getting work wasn’t really the point of the Jobmatch exercise. The DWP didn’t care whether or not people got interviews and actual jobs when they selected jobs posted in Jobmatch.

“That’s not part of the remit at all,” the adviser said. All the DWP cared about was evidence that a JSA claimant had fulfilled their jobsearch requirements – that is, applied for an agreed number of jobs every week, or fortnight, or however often it was. You can even hear the guy say that he knew that another JSA claimant applied for a job as a sushi chef just to meet jobsearch requirements. The man had no training, or history in catering, but “he put it on there [chose the job in Jobmatch], because he was at his wits’ end as to what to put on there.” Cute. And you get the picture. It doesn’t matter if the person has a hope in hell of getting any of the jobs they find on Jobmatch, or even a job interview. That’s not the aim of the jobsearch and Jobmatch exercise. The aim of these exercises is to force people who claim JSA to go through the motions of applying for jobs to keep them in fear and in line.

Plenty of people know the jobsearch regime is pointless, of course – but it is still very interesting to hear one of the DWP’s own work programme providers describe the charade out loud. Certainly, Angela and I found it interesting. To say the least. The Reed guy said: “At the moment, they’re [the DWP] not looking at, okay, what happened with that job – show us evidence that you’ve applied [sic], show us evidence that you have an interview – that’s not part of the remit at all. At the moment, it is just seeing that Angela, or me, or whoever else, is actually doing what they’re supposed to be doing.” As I say, Angela and I found this fascinating – if a little startling. Neither of us was expecting such a candid admission.

Let’s go to the recording. Angela was asking if she had to select and apply for jobs she found on Universal Jobmatch, as she was applying for a role she had found in the Guardian.

Transcript:

ADVISER:

“What you can do – and this is something that I was virtually going through today with somebody on Universal Jobmatch – is you can actually, if you go to Activity History on the top toolbar, so you’ve got [slight static on recording], the last tab is Activity History and that shows what you’ve been doing and what you’ve been applying for. If you click on that – on the right side of that is Jobsearch Notes. You can click in that box and you can actually put in “I’ve applied through the Guardian for this particular position on such and such a date” and then click Save and that’s part of your activity gone through. So you can do that. I know that it is a little long winded, but what it does…is if the DWP are being difficult… it depends which adviser you get in all honesty. Some are very good. Others can be pretty ruthless. If you’ve got a good adviser, they’ll turn around and there’s no issue with that [slight static on recording]. The problem you are constantly facing, though, is Universal Jobmatch doesn’t have these jobs [the project and officer roles Angela was qualified for] on there. You know – that’s the problem.

AS – What does that mean? Does that mean I have to go for jobs I can’t do?

ADVISER – No, no, because you’re not being forced into a job, that’s not it. What the jobcentre want to see I think…if, if you can work within what they’re trying to say…the parameters of what is there is that everybody who is on jobseekers’ allowance is actively seeking work. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are actively taking any job that’s out there. It’s what you’re capable of and want to do at the end of the day. So with that in mind, I mean, like, there was a guy today who went on there [Jobmatch] and there wasn’t much on there, so he put down sushi chef – and I said okay, um, you know it takes about three years to train as a sushi chef and you’ve not got any catering history or anything like that, but he put it on there, because he was at his wits’ end as to what to put on there, so you know, that would be highlighted. If the DWP looked at that, his adviser at the jobcentre could turn around and say “why have you put this on here” and, you know, give him a hard time about it, but generally speaking, there’s… if you kind of put on between two and five every couple of days, you know, and if they’re admin related or charity related or whatever, put them on at the end of the day. What they’re looking at is that you’re putting them on. At the moment, and I don’t see the foreseeable future, they’re not looking at, okay, what happened with that job – show us evidence that you’ve applied [sic] show us evidence that you have had an interview – that’s not part of the remit at all. At the moment, it is just seeing that Angela or me or whoever else is actually doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Outstanding.

Certainly, this rhetoric matched exactly the jobsearch and Jobmatch experiences that many JSA claimants have reported to me. For a year now, people have been telling me that they feel their chances of finding work through their jobcentres and work programme providers are very close to zero. I have attended jobcentre meetings with people whose jobcentres have literally never called an employer on their behalf. People say that they’re not allowed to use jobcentre phones to call employers and that any work they find is sourced entirely through their own networks, contacts and efforts. Angela ultimately found a job herself, by applying for a role that she found on the Guardian site in the latter part of 2014. Her success had absolutely nothing to do with the DWP. Quite the reverse. She had to take time out each week from her own constructive attempts to find a job and instead spend several hours trying to meet the DWP’s jobsearch requirements – ie,to travel all around Northwest London and to drop meaningless jobsearch papers at the Wembley jobcentre, or miles away at Reed. I accompanied her on a few of these trips and can vouch for their supreme pointlessness as far as jobfinding went. Still – it was useful to hear the work programme provider confirm that the thing was a farce. Made that trip very intriguing.

15 thoughts on “Work programme provider: we know jobsearch & Jobmatch are pointless, but do them anyway

  1. Pingback: Work Programme Provider Admits He Knows Jobsearch And Jobmatch Are Pointless | Same Difference

  2. Dear Kate,
    Next time somebody is told “UJM reg./usage is compulsory for claimants”, ask to be shown where it states so – after all, JCP staff are keen to show where anything is compulsory re: legislation/rules&regs. links… The result will be either a) “Er, you`ll have to ask for that in writing.”, b) you`ll be referred to the Welfare Reform Act 2012, 17,3, (c):”claimants must have online profile for jobsearching purposes” – no mention of UJM, & registering with Indeed/Reed/TotalJobs/Fish4Jobs/JobsToday/etc. meets this requirement, or c) referred to Job Seeker`s Direction rules to create profile on UJM or face sanction (reg. with aforementioned site/sites & you negate this necessity).
    Using the majority of other sites gives option of confirmation email re: every application – simply Create File or Folder on your email account page & Move email confirmations to it. When it comes to providing supporting evidence at signing appointments either display this list on your smartphone or other portable Internet Access Device (link to their WiFi) or print it off using their PCs in the office before the appointment (possibly along with your Emails Sent list re: email applications that you`ve made).
    JCP staff`ll be p*ssed-off as they can`t monitor what you`re doing via UJM access (which you don`t have to give, or can uncheck the box at any time & do as above to provide evidence of jobsearch), but you are in accordance with the regs./criteria. N.B. the WS1 booklet is “only an informal diary/record-keeping form for your use, not evidence of jobsearch/applications activity” (JCP advisers` own words) = another hoop to jump through, nothing more. For further reading, see UJM Toolkit-Guide To Usage For JCP Staff, Ch.3, pts. 82-84:”We [DWP & JCP] cannot specify to claimants how they present us with evidence of jobsearch activity, & UJM will not change this.” (I`ve been tempted to write a 14-day jobsearch on a coupla bunches of bananas & submit this as my jobsearch record/evidence after attempts to give me grief re: opting-out of UJM account usage…I`d love to see an adviser attempt to scan THAT for digital records purposes lol).

    • It’s interesting, isn’t it. I can’t tell you how many jcp appointments I’ve sat in on now where people have been told they MUST sign up on UJM and also give the DWP access to their account. I recently sat with a young woman in one jcp where the adviser literally stood over her until she’d signed up on UJM. It was presented as “you need to do this as evidence that you’re taking jobsearch seriously” etc.

      • Re: people being deliberately mis-led that ‘UJM is compulsory/mandatory’, don`t waste your time FOI requesting the DWP about it – if you look on whatdotheyknow.com (where you can also find a complete & latest version of the UJM Toolkit: Guide For JCP Staff), you`ll see that the responses to some 80-100 requests on this topic are (at best) evasive & usually refer to the UJM Toolkit`s relevant parts (simultaneously authoritarian-sounding but essentially equally evasive) or refer you to the Job Seekers` Direction to create a UJM account.
        DWP/JCP want to keep this con going to bolster the UJM ‘take-up’ figures in order to counteract criticism of just how cr*p it is considering the wads of cash spent on it (as Johnnyvoid has said, would Monster create a realistic competitor for their own profit-making products/services..?) – the same is true of Sec of State for Work&Pensions the Right Hon. Irrational Deluded Sociopath`s ‘belief’ that Universal Credit & it`s IT system is a wonderful thing = absolute tosh, & as for UC`s info-sharing procedures – the Data Protection Act:Personal Data Privacy impacts haven`t even been subjected to the relevant legal checks yet IDS is pushing ahead.
        P.S.: I`ll save anybody the bother of trawling through gov.uk re: UJM =complusory/mandatory: all that`s on there is a ref. that Mark Hoban proposed this back in early/mid 2013 (March, I think) – it was never implemented, probably due to the illegality of FORCED data-sharing that it involves. Also, to try & get `round the ‘consent to 3rd Party Sharing/Storage Of Personal Data’, DWP try to pass off Monster as the ‘provider’ & IDS as the ‘subscriber’ on behalf of all welfare claimants i.e. the RESPONSIBLE named person (IDS, ffs!) – now compare that with the UJM`s T&C Of Use disclaimer, wherein DWP accept no liability for any losses incurred due to usage (i.e. scam jobs that can leave you liable for 1000s of £s as in the Giftland proxy eBay Seller con – check out YouTube for C4 News` report on this) or through ID Fraud – yet they insist on the ‘Public C.V.’ criteria of UJM account usage, which exposes your details on said C.V. to perusal by anybody posing as a prospective employer.

  3. “For a year now, people have been telling me that they feel their chances of finding work through their jobcentres and work programme providers are very close to zero.”
    Your [above] comment reminds me of something my daughter recently told me: she said: [the company she works for] will never approach the jobcentre with vacancies because unsuitable/unqualified/inexperienced kept applying and when asked why they’d applied for a job they were unsuited for, the reply was always the same: ‘We have no choice, we have got to apply for X amount of jobs every week.’
    The saddest is the disabled jobseekers’ that have applied for jobs that only an able-bodied person can do, this is cruelty of the highest order, which is why the company my daughter works for avoids the JCP like the plague.

  4. The more I read, and experience personally, about the corruption of the Social Security System the more despondent I become.

    At one time fighting back gave me the energy to take up the next battle but I find my self overwhelmed by the extent of Lies, and abuse dealt down by #IDS and Co

    Keep on exposing the Truth Kate xxx

    • Hats off to your work as well Jayne. We’ll get there xx Neolibralism is on shaky ground and its proponents are well aware of that.

      • Ladies, both of you are doing a fantastic job of alerting/fore-warning people about the bs being perpetrated by this crop of SelfServatives via the DWP/etc., please don`t ever stop!
        You efforts ARE appreciated by untold numbers, believe me x

  5. Pingback: Work programme provider: we know jobsearch & Jobmatch are pointless, but do them anyway | Kate Belgrave | Britain Isn't Eating

  6. Pingback: 54 and out of work: how the DWP hounds you to amuse itself. More stories from the jobcentre | Kate Belgrave

  7. Pingback: 54 and out of work: how the DWP hounds you to amuse itself | glynismillward189

  8. Pingback: How the DWP actively humiliates sick and disabled benefit claimants. More stories from the jobcentre. | Kate Belgrave

  9. Pingback: Closed claims, lost housing benefit: how IDS contempt for sick or disabled claimants played | Kate Belgrave

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.