The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), who are responsible for administrating the welfare and benefits system, have launched Universal Jobsmatch website. According to Rowena Mason in the Telegraph, the idea is that job hunters and their CVs are are automatically paired up with jobs that suit their skills.
This new tool is part of the Gov.UK site, replacing the Jobcentre Plus job search tool.
There will be non-compulsory tracking of benefit claimants’ computers to see how many jobs they are searching for.
It’s non compulsory because tracking of computers without permission goes against EU law. The tracking will be done via cookies. Cookies send data packets and are associated with a specific website. The cookies will allow Job Centre advisers will be able to see the numbers of searches people conduct via the site, and sanctions will be imposed on those deemed to not be be searching hard enough.
Cookies are frequently highlighted as part of privacy concerns, hence recent EU action on them.
Surely it is possible to see the jobs people are applying for, and whether they accept offers or not, in a much less intrusive manner?
I have now got a response from DWP. They clarified that the cookies do not track applications by jobseekers, and Advisers can only track a job seeker if given express permission. This is done by database records, not cookies. I hinted in the original post that something like this would be more appropriate and less invasive, so it’s pleasing to see that my initial understanding was incorrect. Those that don’t wish to be tracked are required to present screen shots or print outs of applications they are doing.
“If the jobseeker does not agree to DWP access, they will need to provide paper evidence of job search activity. Failure to show jobsearch activity could result in a sanction. “