Giving Job Centre acess to Universal Job Match being made mandetory in October

Gary McKay made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I have recently been told several times by my adviser at the job centre that it will become mandatory in October of this year for me to give the job centre access to my Universal Jobmatch account.

I have searched online and can find no confirmation of this or how the DWP have been able to find a loop hole around the Data Protection Act which gives me the choice to share my information or not.

If you could explain in the instance this is true to the legality and if it is not true the option for me to have this sent to me in writing so I can show the Job Centre advisers and be left to job hunt with my privacy intact without fear of sanction.

Yours faithfully,
Gary McKay

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Dear Mr McKay,
Please find attached the reply to your recent Freedom of Information
request reference number 4412:
Thank you
DWP Freedom of Information Team

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Richo left an annotation ()

Two weeks ago, when I signed on at my local J/C I was given a much more rigorous time than usual (there was 2 ladies involved and what looked like the manager standing within earshot". They had obviously been told to be more forceful regarding their access to my Universal Job Match password. I refused to comply, as is within my rights, but they went on to say that when Universal Credit gets rolled out it will be mandatory to allow them access. I still refused and was allowed to go.

Then, I signed on yesterday (Tues 10th October) and was distinctly told by the J/C staff member that it was now mandatory to give them my Universal Jobmatch password (a blatant lie and distortion of the facts). I refused, so she said that I'll have to attend a Personal Advisor this Friday 12th October to discuss the issue further.

It makes one wonder, how many other claimants are being falsely told it's mandatory to provide access? Vulnerable claimants could be especially at risk to this sort of misinformation.

Gary McKay, thanks so much for your request. It empowers me a little for when I attend this upcoming interview on Friday and I will quote this FOI response to my advisor if necessary.

Gary McKay left an annotation ()

You're welcome Richo. I hope this helps. Failing that log a complaint with your job centre as I did. I too have been told that it WILL still be mandatory when Universal Credit is rolled out. I also dispute this due to data protection laws but have not inquired as of yet.

As far as my own case is concerned, after receiving this information I logged a complaint with my local job center and received a full verbal apology over the phone. The manager claimed that there has been a lot of "confusion" with the staff regarding information they have been receiving from the hierarchy. Personally I think this is a lie and they were well aware of what they were doing. Despite this I have been told that the staff have been informed of their error and will no longer claim mandatory access to UJM accounts.

I'm due to sign on tomorrow so I will be keeping a close ear on what other jobseekers are being told and will escalate the complaint if I hear other people being manipulated in this manner. God help them if they even hint at me giving them mandatory access to my account again.