Decisions Facing Rachel Reeves on Friday 8th May 2015 (Number 12: Universal Jobsmatch) #GE2015

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Number 12: Universal Jobsmatch

DWP commissioned the world’s experts in designing jobsearch/jobmatch websites and then saddled them with a specification designed to achieve opportunities for sanctions at the expense of effective jobmatching.

Re-commission this company and make them work with a design group made up of jobseekers, employers and Jobcentre staff to design a new system. Between them, they should be left to put together a package designed to make the UK’s largest virtual labour market a reality for these three key stakeholder groups. Ensure that the group includes a representative sample of jobseekers, employers and Jobcentre staff. The latter should be drawn from big city, town and rural offices. None should be above Band D and all should have worked with employers, not just referred people to them.

In addition, resurrect all the quality checks for employers placing vacancies on UJ as part of a beefed up employer service. DWP has suffered severe reputational damage from its light touch approach to vacancy handling via UJ. We are just lucky that no one has been severely hurt, if not killed, because of this lax regime. There were some, thankfully few, incidents with dubious employers before UJ came in. DWP should exercise a duty of care to all those using UJ, employers and jobseekers, to ensure that it is not exploited by anyone using it. I include employment agencies amongst potential abusers. Do this right and DWP rebuilds trust with both jobseekers (many of whom are not on JSA) and good employers, many of whom may well be wary of using UJ.

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