Unemployed to be forced to sign up to Universal Jobmatch website at the centre of security concerns

Jobseekers complain that they don’t want to upload sensitive information, such as a CV

Unemployed people will be forced to join up to a government site at the centre of security concerns - as well as posting their CVs online - or face losing their jobseeker’s allowance from the new year, it has been announced.

The Universal Jobmatch site was criticised after hackers demonstrated its vulnerability to attack and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith admitted that thousands of fake job adverts had been blocked, but that some had got through and had to be removed.

But, speaking this morning, Mr Duncan Smith said that joining it would become compulsory, regardless of whether or not they search for jobs via other means. He said: “We have been clear that this is not mandatory yet and there will be no sanctions for not joining…but mandation will begin in the new year.”

The removal of benefit payments will be at the discretion of job centre staff. But some jobseekers have complained that they do not want to upload sensitive information – such as that included in their CV – to a site over which there have been security fears.

Channel 4 News reported last month that a group of hackers managed to get personal details from dozens of job applicants signed up to the site, including passwords, national insurance numbers and even scans of their passports.

And a host of fake adverts have also appeared on the site. “I signed up and found two interesting items for ‘Mystery Shopper’. One seemed fine but the other was clearly a scam aimed at identity theft,” said one 46-year-old Welshman, who did not want to be named for fear of sanction.

A group of unemployed people came forward to tell the Independent that Job Centre staff are already forcing jobseekers to sign up to the site, which allows them to monitor job searches and remove benefits if they are not deemed sufficient. Some said they believed it was going to be used to take away those payments, regardless of whether or not they were genuinely looking for jobs.

Melissa, from London, said: “I overheard two advisers talking about a man they had just seen and the staff member whose claimant he was said she was going to use his not signing up to the site as an excuse to suspend his money. She said this with relish and it made me sick.”

The site has been set up by recruitment firm Monster, which is being paid £16.7m for its services. Iain Duncan-Smith said he thought it would “revolutionise” the job search process and added that job advisors are able to impose sanctions such as “mandatory work activity” if they feel the unemployed are not searching hard enough.

A DWP source revealed that staff are looking into how to make the site more secure, adding that it was an “ongoing process”. Mr Duncan Smith admitted that some job centre staff had got the wrong idea about whether or not the site was compulsory but a source said that the Department would be making their plans clear.

A DWP spokesman said: “Universal Jobmatch marks a revolution in how we match jobseekers with employers - and vice versa. Nearly 700,000 jobseekers have already registered to use the site and we expect that number to keep on rising.

“Use of the site is not currently mandatory, and the feedback we've had so far from jobseekers is incredibly positive.

“In the new year we will require Jobseekers Allowance claimants to use the service. It is already a condition of receiving JSA that you actively seek work and Universal Jobmatch is where the majority of new vacancies are being posted.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: IT Help Desk Support

£14500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Help Desk Support individ...

Recruitment Genius: Interim HR Advisor

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are going through an excitin...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£37500 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced Quantity Surveyor r...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable