Another government white elephant is set to bite the dust. The contract for the government’s Universal Jobmatch service finishes in 2017, and leaked documents obtained by the Guardian newspaper show that the service is likely to be shut down.
Internal communications from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) show that the website is too expensive to operate, and that it is of no real value to job seekers, with 20% of all job adverts being fake, repeat entries, and outside the terms and conditions of the service.
Channel 4 and Labour MP Frank Field investigated the Universal Jobmatch service and found that some of the advertised jobs were fraudulent, asking Jobseekers for payment for fake criminal record checks, and as a hub to harvest personal information for identify fraud.
Field is now requesting that the National Audit Office investigate the scheme.
As usual, the problems with Universal Jobmatch are the result of incompetence by the DWP under the instructions of Duncan Smith and his cronies.
The partner company, Monster, was instructed to create the service within the criteria set out by the DWP, who also told Monster to ‘forget everything you know about job boards, this is what we want’ according to Stephen O’Donnell who runs the National Online Recruitment Awards. Monster, who has been in the online recruitment business for 20 years, have demanded and extra £975,000 from the DWP to clear the site of fraudulent job advertisements. Not surprising when the reason for the mess is the DWP and Duncan Smith’s incompetence – yet again.
Before the introduction of the Universal Jobmatch scheme, job centres handled the advertising of jobs on their job search website. A recruiter had to contact the job centre, identify themselves, and go through various checks to ensure the advertised position was genuine. Under the Universal Jobmatch scheme all the checks have disappeared, so anyone can post anything they like on the site – rendering it totally useless.
Jobseekers AND those on ESA are forced to register with the site or face sanctions on their benefits.
Universal Jobmatch has been a total waste of taxpayer’s money, with initial costs being in the region of £17 million, and annual operating charges in the region of £6 million. All for something that wasn’t needed in the first place.
The job centre already had a perfectly good job search website which was accessible to everyone, and which was operated by people who ensured proper checks and balances were in place. The only reason that the DWP and Duncan Smith set up Universal Jobmatch was to monitor job seekers and those on ESA so they could impose further sanctions for not using the useless service.
Universal Jobmatch is another example of how ‘welfare reforms’ only serve government interests, and not the interests of genuine job seekers or those who are forced to use the welfare service as a result of losing their jobs because of government incompetence, or who have become unable to work through no fault of their own.
The BILLIONS of pounds WASTED on ‘welfare reform’ could have been put to much better use. It could have been used to create REAL employment for people, instead of the disproportionate rise in bogus zero-hour contracted and part-time work.
Universal Credit has already cost more than it could possibly save. Housing Benefit reforms are costing the taxpayer millions more as people have been forced into the private sector. The Work Capability Assessment has cost an enormous amount of taxpayer’s cash because of the number of appeals won by people wrongly found to be fit for work.
Overall, the government have achieved nothing of any use to anyone – except those corporations who are benefitting from highly lucrative government contracts.
The ‘welfare shambles’ has:
- Cost the taxpayer BILLIONS of pounds that will never be recouped through savings to the welfare budget.
- Caused already vulnerable people to become more vulnerable as any stable foundation has been ripped away by the ‘reforms’.
- Increased the vulnerability of the poor to exploitation.
- Forced families into slum accommodation with no long-term stability.
- Displaced people who can not afford the bedroom tax.
- Been directly responsible for the deaths of vulnerable people.
- And so it continues!
The shambles is not surprising when the head of the reform is a proven liar, manipulator, and all round sad excuse for a human being. Duncan Smith has his own agenda, and has proven himself to be totally incapable of implementing any kind of reform in a reasonable and humanitarian way.
As with the rest of Duncan Smith’s background, ‘welfare reforms’ will become yet another one of his failures in life.
In the meantime, it will be those who are responsible for a very small proportion of welfare costs who will be targeted and penalised – people who do not have the collective power to challenge the government in a significant way, and people who are forced to become slaves to incompetent and self-serving government agendas.
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