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Universal Jobmatch is a British government website where unemployed people can try to find job vacancies. The website has been subject to a number of criticisms including concerns over data security, the appearance of bogus job adverts on the site, and the suitability of some job postings. In 2012 it was reported that an advertisement for a pornographic actress and a mafia hitman had appeared on the site. The site was developed by Monster, at a cost of over £17 million and annual running charges of £6Million. Controversy has arisen due to people having registered with Universal Jobmatch and then finding that they are targeted by dubious organisations and individuals in financial scams. Instead of resolving this issue, the Monster Corporation which operates the system on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) require all users, when creating an account, to accept a number of terms and conditions of use, including the clause that they "don't accept liability for loss or damage incurred by users of the website.
The website has replaced the Jobcentre Plus job search tool and Employer Services Direct. The service has been introduced as part of a Government campaign to assist the DWP to monitor client's jobsearch activities directly, and as part of the "Digital By Default" agenda to migrate more British citizens to subscribe to an online process when claiming benefits, both unemployment benefit and In Work (Universal Credit benefit). The service was switched prematurely live through an AlphaTesting System in November 2012, was commended as being a perfect system by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions George Iain Duncan Smith in November 2012, but remains a work in progress. Whereas, in parallel to the switching of Universal Job Match, the DWP closed its existing processes supporting Job Search and Employer Services Direct, migrating its customers to the new system, and reported that 460,000 employers posting jobs and the site receiving over 6 million searches per day. By February 2013 there were some 2 million registered users., although ambiguity remains with these figures. When Universal Job Match was introduced, the DWP migrated existing users of its Employer Services Direct service to Universal Job Match, thereby inflating the database of registered users.
However, from the outset of the Alpha Testing System being promoted as being live in November 2012, whereas Universal Job Match may generate a number of job leads, and whereas each Job Lead may require candidates to apply for a job through an external website, there is no guarantee that, upon visiting the web site, the Job Lead will still exist. The Monster Corporation (which operates the system on behalf of the Department of Works and Pensions) makes it clear when candidates sign up to the system that "they do not accept liability or responsibility for any financial consequences".
It is not a requirement to register, and anonymous searches can be made and applications made directly to companies that have posted their contact details. However, as of 01/03/2013 Jobcentre advisers can, if giving a good reason, require Jobseeker's Allowance claimants to use the site through a Jobseeker Direction. If they refuse to comply, they can be recommended for a benefit sanction. A decision-maker takes the final decision over whether benefit should be removed, which as a consequence of the UK Governments Welfare Reform Bill of 2012, may lead to a loss in State Benefits for 3 years.
Registered users have the option to allow the DWP to have access to their accounts. Whilst this is not mandatory, claimants are threatened with a sanction to do so to aid their jobsearch activity and to enable the DWP to monitor claimants' activity.
According to a report in The Guardian in March 2014, leaked documents from the DWP indicate that the government has formulated plans to scrap Universal Jobmatch when the contract for the site is up for renewal in 2016, due to the numbers of fake and repeat job adverts posted to the site and because of cost concerns.