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back to article UK.gov stalks jobless online to axe work refuseniks' benefits

Unemployed Brits who don't look hard enough for work through the government's new Universal Jobmatch website could end up losing their benefits from next year. Jobseekers already need to prove to officials they are applying for plenty of roles in order to claim their government handouts, but this new system takes the process one …

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Just a thought ...

is this *only* available to unemployed ? I have visions of employed people using it to snaffle the better jobs ....

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Re: Just a thought ...

I wouldn't worry about that - the jobs offered at the job centre aren't normally that good to begin with, and the range of jobs available through this site is likely to be just as dire as the offline offerings.

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Re: Just a thought ...

From an employers perspective they probably want the best person available, not just people who happen to be on the dole. So I don't see why being employed should exclude someone.

I'd be more interested in knowing what 3rd party recruitment firms think of Monster basically getting a state sanctioned monopoly. I'd be surprised if they weren't financially compensated for matching candidates to employers.

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Big Brother

Re: Just a thought ...

I wouldn't worry about that.

When I checked out the site to see what it was like, my personal conclusion was of another well spent set of £m of tax money on a Gov.IT, to the usual "standards".

1. You couldn't verify the cert for revocation, so no way to know if you're connected to HMG Server or some Scammer in Nigeria, et al.

2. UI design and functionality, well one quick comparrison with Jobserve highlights the lack of basic functionality. most obvious of which is the Industry selector, hence I'd suggest 9/10th of the results are totally useless, hence the job seeker spends time filtering junk, instead of productive job hunting time.

3. Social Engineering. It took me about 10 minutes (literally) to find a "new" job advert for a company that had ceased Trading over 12 months ago. This combined with the ability of "employers" to hide their ID, means that anybody using this £14m boondoggle is wide open to ID Fraud at the least, and if the can convince a despeserate job hunter into parting with bank details, etc. (oh we need to set you up on the payroll after your telephone interview / undertake a background check), real fraud against people who can least afford it.

So personally I'm expecting the TCO for this to rise rapdily in the next 12 months, with the £500k fines from the ICO.

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Monster?

I haven't used Monster in quite a while as I thought it was a load of pish the last time that I did. Decided to give it a shot; just entered "IT Manager", my location, and up to 20 miles from there.

Of 23 adverts (first page) 1 was for an IT Support person and the rest were for sales, general management or driving jobs.

Can't see me using them any time soon...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Monster?

I logged into WHSmiths and searched for Kindles and just found Kobo's

Oh sorry thought we were talking about unrelated websites.

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Re: Monster?

from the article

>>The site was set up by recruitment firm Monster, which is being paid $16.7m for its services<<

Related enough for you?

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Not bad in theory

but this is a government IT project right? I know I'm a cynical sort but I wouldn't bet anything on this working as envisaged. How long before the daily mail has a story about how a single mom starved to death because she didn't apply to be the ceo of some quango (whilst her immigrant neighbour is on 20k a week benefits, because you need the mail angle in there).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not bad in theory

And of course there's no truth in those stories.

My wife works in a community health role, and by its nature that tends to involve disproportionate contact with the lower social orders. She was asked to help one of them with their form for housing benefit "cos I'm no good wiv that sort of fing".

And going through this form (which did get approved) it became apparent that the drug dealing (yep,cautions convictions) dole scrounging vermin brought in as much in benefits as my wife earned after tax working three days a week (as a graduate with three separate professional qualifications to her name).

I should point out that I've been out of work myself, and I recognise and sympathise with some of the other comments in this thread, but there's certainly a distinct class of people paid handsomely to do nothing. On the other hand, if you're prudent, industrious, educated, you can be sure that the welfare system will give you next to nothing (JSA), and hound you to waste your time applying for roles that are either fictious, or that you'll never get for reasons of skills or location.

I'd quite like the whole welfare state to be optional. As I will never benefit from it (having saved money against rainy days, having planned my own pension, and buying my own house on a mortgage that the DSS will never pay for) I'd choose never to pay for it, and forgo any possible job seekers allowance payments that I might in future be due. Graun readers might feel differently, but in an optional system they would be free to contribute extra to make up for people like me.

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Unhappy

Dont fall sick either

Especially if you've a morgage and savings for a rainy day.

Because you'll get nowt from the welfare system.

Oh and applying for JSA ... I cant because I'm unavailable for work due to being signed off sick for the next 3 months.

PS... I'm off to blow all my cash on 55" TVs , SKY subscriptions and foreign holidays...... bet I'd get some money then

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Re: Not bad in theory

-but there's certainly a distinct class of people paid handsomely to do nothing. -

You have offered one anecdotal example and have generalised it to thousands of people. If you're on JSA you too can apply for housing benefit & council tax relief, which probably would also add up to what your wife's p/time job pays.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not bad in theory

"My wife works in a community health role,"

And where do you think her salary comes from ?

So, while you proudly claim to never need state aid, you are quite happy to receive income from the state from elsewhere ?

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Happy

Re: Not bad in theory

"How long before the daily mail has a story about how a single mom starved to death because she didn't apply to be the ceo of some quango (whilst her immigrant neighbour is on 20k a week benefits, because you need the mail angle in there)."

Have you considered a career move into journalism.

Sounds like you've got the touch already.

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Re: Not bad in theory

"scrounging vermin brought in as much in benefits as my wife earned after tax working three days a week"

This anecdotal person clearly has excellent sales, negotiation and people management skills.

They should be hired to help renegotiate the cost of outsourcing government contracts - perhaps in a senior financial management position, where no one will mention the drugs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not bad in theory

Maybe you could put me in touch with these people that apparently do so well from the benefits system? - I could use some help.

The entire value of all the benefits I get is 8.5k a year. My Housing Benefit only covers 80% of my rent (after the cut for under 35's which already forced me to move). I am autistic and suffer from depression and anxiety problems. Due to the lack of funding for mental health around here it's taken 2 years for any autism care to be provided (due to the entire adult autism team for the Midlands consisting of *2* people). My local mental health hospital has been almost shut down so provides almost nothing except minimal crisis support. I have to *pay* MIND for therapy and rely on the Samaritans.

Until last week I lived in fear of what further cuts I was going to have to endure - then the government have stated they're going to reassess my Incapacity Benefit in the next couple of weeks - of course, all the support services are shut for Xmas so I can get no help. I have already taken one overdose from the stress - and let me tell you, getting blood from the self-harm on your best clothes doesn't go down so well when your family takes you out for a meal.

I will now have to enter a system that is so flawed and biased against me that people die due to the ineptitude of those involved. My girlfriend lost her job 18months ago and was so beaten down by the system the job center staff themselves said she was unable to work due to the mental state *they* had put her into. I know this is now coming for me.

So, we're not all "making merry" on benefits. Some of us are terrified for our lives - and those of our loved ones. I hope you have a Merry Xmas. Because I, and many more, will not.

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Coat

Re: Dont fall sick either

Lets get a grip here. Not everyone who is unemployed is a gutter rat. Some have the unfortunate position of having got older and become easier targets for the accountants at the firms they were employed at.

As a result they have not only built the systems, put in the processes and taught the younger set (if they were listening) how to make it right. And then for their troubles were made redundant. So the Next time you whipper snappers look at the older guy in your office imagine its your Father or Mother you are undermining.

Next the savings that you might have thought you were going to inherit when they passed away are being used to compensate for the poor governmental management. And those who managed to manage the lives correctly are paying an additional price by saving for a rainy day and watching it diminish while loud mouthed wannabees roam the offices. I'll bet there have been more people in the office searching the internet while being paid then working this past week looking for that special present thats about to put another high street store out of business.

Add to this that by the time they reach retirement they will be penniless while the company you work for are about to make you redundant for precisely the same reasons, a new accountant only looking at the well being of his set of numbers. Now you might be getting the picture. Its only a matter of time before your lip is on the hook.

Yes there are people who are swingling the lead, not looking for work and trying to claim monies they are not entitled to, but there are also people who hope against hope are working thier rocks off (and probably more hours than you are) to ensure that their sons and daughters do not meet the same fate they have.

So spare a thought for those that through no fault of their own have aged, provided secure systems and services so as to make themselves redundant and are now pushing that boulder uphill just trying to survive fairly. And what do they have to face but sour criticism from people who are nothing more than social monkeys rather than industrial builders or thinkers.

Not everyone is a spounger and I hope you never have to be.

Oh! look there goes the bee in my Bonnet...

P.S. To the Politicians with big mouths whos income is equivilent to 10 peoples salaries and earn more money in interest from their inheretance then most would in a lifetime I suggest you should pipe down about what constitutes working for a living or getting a job.

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Oh dear :-) I had hope the juxtaposition was ridiculous enough not to be taken seriously. Merry Christmas folks and congratulations for surviving the apocalypse.

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Re: Not bad in theory

"He" is not receiving state aid.

His wife ( who is an individual in her own right )

Is receiving money from the state and in return providing a service to the state.

It's not the same as someone receiving income from the state and providing nothing in return.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not bad in theory (@AC, 19:33)

I'm sorry to hear of the struggles you have been through and, from what it seems, the struggles you are still going through.

I just wanted to say that despite your last sentence, I hope you DO have a good Xmas but more importantly than that, I hope you find 2013 significantly better for you than 2012 has turned out.

Best wishes.

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Big Brother

Re: Dont fall sick either

The Housing Benefit system and other benefits are actively rigged to penalise the sensible person who puts something aside for a rainy day.

Given you have paid tax and NI on your earnings from which the savings where created from, why should these then exclude you from payments from the "national insurance" operator? If a real insurance company did this, the directors would be in court for the criminal offence of fraud.

An interesting set of figures was published in Private Eye after "call me Dave"'s rants about HB just prior to the last election. The bill for the UK was approx £21bn, but if you multiplied the number of claimants by the average claim amount, you got to roughly £7bn in payments, meaning that the complexities of the system (means testing, etc.) result in £2 to administer every £1 of claim payment. (For ref, insurance companies spend 10p to 25p doing this on the highly subjective and argued motor claims)

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Hasn't the DWP already managed to expose private and confidential information to do with it's own employees to scammers? Why should anybody have any faith in them at all?

And perhaps things have changed since I was made redundant 8 years ago, but the job centre never seemed to be any good for jobs that involved skills beyond flipping burgers. I spent most of my time on job websites at that time, as well as on the phone to agencies.

Absolutely none of the interviews I got during that period were as a result of me finding anything at the job centre - which I looked for anyway when I went there to sign on. I have a hard time believing that a website will be any more useful than that.

So we apparently have a choice if we're out of work: either waste time on a website that won't help us find employment, or risk losing our benefits by spending that time on more useful websites instead and where we might actually - shock, horror - find a job?

And acronyms 'FUBAR' and 'SNAFU' both come to mind...

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Anonymous Coward

Of course no-one has faith in them

The point is that claimants are being no choice about this.

My experience claiming some years ago reflects yours, and yes the system was utter crap.

Except for the day that the jobs at the Job Centre were on the system. Ouch. Not only did those claiming have no faith in them, we could also see just how little the DWP valued them.

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Stop

Why not on the job centre screens?

Last time (2001) I was on the job-seekers allowance (whittling down the kids' savings accounts), there were little touch-screen panels showing you that there were apple-picking jobs in Norfolk - you could print out little chits on thermal paper for contact details and the like.

Why, if the man wants to have the jobless (not feckless) apply through any kind of centralised system, do the job centres not integrate an 'apply now' button against their registered id? This could simply bounce your details, CV and location through to the employer directly.

I sympathise with those who have no internet connection, or ability to pay for 2-500 stamps for mailshots and/or phone calls. It can be a pricey time when you are trying to save every penny.

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Re: Why not on the job centre screens?

Look at you being all logical and shit! :)

It's a fine plan if the Job Centre was there to help people claiming JSA back into work, but it's not.

The Job Centre is there to get people off JSA by any means necessary.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not on the job centre screens?

Why can't the Job Centre people find you a job like an agency can?

Why is it for a the unemployed person to do all the hard work when the employment service people are the ones getting paid a wage.

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Re: Why not on the job centre screens?

In my thankfully limited experience of the job centre the people there seemed to spend most of their time apologising for the fact that it took so long for the JSA to actually appear in bank accounts. I was in the fortunate position at the time of this not causing any issues for me personally. God help anybody that finds themselves suddenly out of a job and really does need the cash though - they really are up a certain creek without a paddle.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not on the job centre screens?

'Why can't the Job Centre people find you a job like an agency can?'

You answered your own question, the Job Centre isn't an agency, if they *did* act as an agency, then the government's friends in all the agencies out there would get rather annoyed at the 'state run' competition.

The system I last had experience of a couple of years back paid lip service to the idea that it is there to find anyone a job. The last time I was unfortunate enough to have to sign on, I had hours of fun pointing out to the 'advisors' how broken their system/database was, I was advised that as there were no vacancies in this area for my particular skillset showing up on their searches, I should be applying for jobs as a cleaner etc, or I'd be facing 'sanctions'. (Note: they weren't saying that I should be working as a cleaner, but *applying* for the cleaner vacancies. We're dealing with *that* sort of mentality here).

Still, handing this contract to Monster?

In some respects, I can't say it surprises me in the least (incompetent birds of a feather and all that...), but of all the online jobsites I've registered with in the past, they've consistently proven to be the least 'effective'', and there was the wee matter of the hack a few years back wherein my details were filched..

The system wasn't always this way (Read: inefficient, incompetent, etc). I can remember a visit as a child to the old Buroo in the late 60's with my father when he was paid off from one job, he waited in the queue, got to the front, he told them what he could do, they checked his papers, looked through the vacancies on a card index, handed him details from the card, he started another job two days later. (Yes, it was a different world back then, there were more jobs, real men wore flat caps, women wore scarves etc. etc. etc.)

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Programming

Presumably someone enterprising could write a tool that picks out a selection of jobs and automatically submits applications to the quotiant level required by the DWP. All whilst they're looking on sites which actually hold jobs of relevance to their career?

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Re: Programming

A better solution I think would be to encourage existing job websites to share usage information with the DWP - with both the knowledge and consent of the user of course. That way job seekers could still use those other more useful websites without being penalised for it.

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Bang on

Last time I had to brave the Job Centre they were determined to make me apply for a access development job in Devon - I live in West Central Scotland with a career in ITIL and support

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Meh

Re: Bang on

Similar experience here - made redundant as a software dev in Somerset. JC wanted me to apply for an overnight data entry job in Plymouth because "you can type pretty well!"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Programming

@ Vimes

The problem with this is job websites are shit. If you're looking for entry level stuff you will simply find a thousand entries promising "Competitive wage PLUS UP TO 30K OTE" for an unidentified sales company, peppered with the occasional genuine job advert, duplicated eight times through the various recruitment agencies with the thinnest, least explanatory job descriptions you could imagine.

One of the main reasons most people on JSA fake their documentation (and most people do), even when genuinely looking for work, is the fact that jumping through the hoops the DWP puts in place to get your £7.80 a day is just about impossible in practice. They expect documentation of 10 "searches" and 4 "applications" per fortnight. Maintaining that for more than about a month is just about impossible, so without fail people just end up writing the same old generic shit in their diary while carefully cultivating a few genuine applications.

For example, I'm currently out of work and claiming JSA. I've got three good job applications in process, one approaching the third and final stage of the recruitment process that I'm confident of having a good shot at, all fairly well paying jobs that match my skill set. However, despite this, if I go down to the Jobcentre on thursday and say "Sorry I didn't apply for four telesales jobs that don't exist this week, I spent thirty hours prepping a presentation for an interview instead", I'll be docked four months of JSA.

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Unhappy

Re: Programming

Reading your tale & the others here, sigh... Gawd bless the box-ticking process mentality of the modern UK gummint - last time I applied for unemployment benefit was in a luckier country than this, and a real live man still allowed to think for himself looked at my background, listened to my plans (basically apply for benefit as a backstop in case I can't land a job within the stand-down period), and said "well you're required to look over the job boards here every so often, but I can tell you outright that there won't be anything that makes any real use of you so crack on with your own hunt and good luck!" and ticked all the "good egg, give him a little money" boxes on the form.

And yep, the govt knows it will go well because Monster is involved. Last time I touched them was with the bad end of a shitty stick - and I still ended up regretting even that much contact!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Programming

Quite.

Do they still have the incredibly out of date list of every conceivable (to the system) job title too, the one that was done in the 1970s and thus reflects 1970s industrial practices (you could do a thesis on job demarcation using it) and the state of the IT industry then? I almost got them to have the code for 'Farmer's wife' as one of my three job search areas.

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Anonymous Coward

Applied for several jobs via this

Never any response and the same jobs were there for over 8 months, was told that many of them were advertised because of staffing levels but the companies didnt have the budget to hire, else they'd advertise on a real job site.

Others were for gangmaster teams (fruit picking etc) paying minimum wages and headed by convicted gangmasters (Staffing solutions in Swaffham)

Jobcentres are the replacement for the old DSS offices, if they found you work they'd be replacing you on the dole, what incentive is that?

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Anonymous Coward

Actually ...

It is a shame that their isnt a proper goverment jobsite, one where all vacancies must be advertised and where qualifications are linked to the education databases.

This would make it must easier to police minimum wage and illegal workers and also have the benefit of killing recuitment consultants(one step below estate agents IMHO ).

If they had this system and provided free internet to the unemployed then it would be something other than a stick to beat people off the benefits they have paid taxes to be entitled to.

The truth be told anyone who was on benefits during the housing bubble/greed fest cannot be held accountable for the current financial crisis, so why is it they being scapegoated and punished for the sins of the well off.

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Re: Actually ...

There is:

if ( education==eton ) job = cabinet

else if ( education==cambridge && knowledge==FA) job = conservativeMP

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Mushroom

Why not go the whole hog and microchip the jobless? Have sensors set up at every bookies and off licence. This is just another example of wasting money on a service that already exists. Truly pointless!

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"This is just another example of wasting money on a service that already exists"

But it makes perfect sense if you believe the unemployed are a bunch of feckless scroungers permanently on the lash who need to be supervised like three year olds.

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Re: Why not go the whole hog and microchip the jobless?

Don't start giving them ideas!

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Microchip and track the jobless

You're thinking of the National ID Card project...

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"the unemployed are a bunch of feckless scroungers permanently on the lash who need to be supervised like three year olds."

I could have sworn you said 'MPs'.

My mistake. Sorry.

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Black Helicopters

The Long Con.

Agreed but the aim is to reduce the government spend so that the next headline reads 'We are meeting our targets to decrease government spend' (by also putting the job center employees on the dole) 'and the take up of the new online jobcentre has increased (same jobcentre people) so more people are looking for' (but will probably read 'finding') work via this medium its an all round success dont your think' Gaffaw Gaffaw Gaffaw!

Right now where did I put my expenses application?

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FAIL

"We don't see why you wouldn't want to [let advisors track you]," sniffed the DWP spokesman. "It's clearly an advantage. But that aspect of it is not mandatory."

These are people whose career trajectory has landed them at the job centre, what possible help are they going to offer to people? Most of them are there because they're unemployable anywhere else.

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Big Brother

"We don't see why you wouldn't want to [let advisors track you]...

"...After all, if you've got nothing to hide..." they added, socco voce...

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FAIL

We don't see why you wouldn't want to [let advisors track you]

Why wouldn't I want an unaccountable government official keeping track of what I'm doing?

And don't get me started on the whole thing about not applying for "suitable" jobs. Who are they to know what's suitable for me?

I seriously hope that I'm never out of work again. Ever.

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So does this mean unemployed persons won't have to go through the charade of filling out the 'What I did' book?

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Anonymous Coward

"So does this mean unemployed persons won't have to go through the charade of filling out the 'What I did' book?"

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha,

No.

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@b1gger

No, it just means you put the jobmatch reference number in the "What I Did book" for them to check it off your file.

=========

it's the same jobs that were on the touch screen "mushrooms", just now you cut and paste the email address from the site instead of printing it out.

the way it is, is that if there's not enough reference numbers logged over the fortnight, no dole.

As Crisp said "The Job Centre is there to get people off JSA by any means necessary."

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Anonymous Coward

before its use becomes mandatory in early 2013?

this does sound "a bit" extreme. Given there's a number of people who can't write their name, let alone read. And quite a few don't know the local language (English, by the way).

but then, I wouldn't worry to much if I was one of the hardcore cases, government systems have never been hard to play. As always, the innocent will suffer and the scum will keep scumming/scamming.

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