The government’s controversial jobs website, Universal Jobmatch, is not going to be scrapped, according to the site’s creator, Monster.
Universal Jobmatch is the official website that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) requires unemployed people to sign up to. The DWP recently denied that it was planning to get rid of the website as suggested by leaked documents seen by the Guardian.
In an open letter, Sal Iannuzzi, CEO of Monster and Neil Couling, head of Jobcentre Plus, wrote: “The current contract between DWP and Monster runs until 2016, but the DWP - as with any large government procurement - will plan and consider all options for how it delivers the service in the future. But whatever that future is, Universal Jobmatch is here to stay, which will be of relief to the 500,000 employers and millions of people looking for a new job who rely on it every day.”
Iannuzzi and Couling used the letter to respond to a number of criticisms that have been directed at the website.
For example, they said that the website was “delivered on budget and on time”, and that Monster continues to work closely with DWP on improving the site.
The letter also addressed the concerns that investigations by Channel 4 and Labour MP Frank Field have uncovered, such as the fake adverts that have appeared on the site.
‘Rogue’ employers posting ‘bogus’ websites have existed since before Universal Jobmatch, it said.
“DWP identified and stopped 185 scams in 2011 and a further 145 in 2012 on its legacy job site, prior to the launch of Universal Jobmatch. We have well-established procedures to minimise this sort of activity, and the volume of such accounts is small. We advise all who use the site on how to stay safe online, to never reveal sensitive information which has no place in a recruitment process,” the letter said.
“But we are not complacent and we take all such incidents very seriously. The DWP and Monster have agreed upon new measures to move questionable jobs to improve further the security of the service.”
In response to the criticism that many job adverts on the site are duplications, Monster said that it will intervene, suspend and investigate all such vacancies. In the case of a breach of terms and conditions, it will also remove the employer’s right to advertise.
“Our continuing removal of such employers or jobs demonstrates that our system of checks works,” it said.
Couling and Iannuzzi also explained that the DWP had complex requirements that meant that the technology platform for it could not be “as simple as taking one off the shelf”.
“The DWP needed to be very specific in its requirements for the site, striking a balance between easy, open access and protecting users. Introducing any system, especially in such a complex environment, is challenging.
“We listen to feedback, have already made major improvements to the system and are committed to further refinement, if and when necessary,” they said.
The Universal Jobmatch website was launched on 19 November and is accessed via the government portal gov.uk. It replaced the Jobcentre Plus website, which was exposed by Channel 4 News as being vulnerable to fraudsters in 2011.
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