DWP denies jobs website scrapping claims

Claims made in a national newspaper that the government’s Universal Jobmatch site is to be scrapped because of serious problems, including fake or repeat job vacancies, are “wild speculation and just incorrect”, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Tue, 18 Mar 2014

Claims made in a national newspaper that the government’s Universal Jobmatch site is to be scrapped because of serious problems, including fake or repeat job vacancies, are “wild speculation and just incorrect”, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The Guardian claimed yesterday [17 March] that leaked internal communications show that the website is likely to be jettisoned when the contract with Monster, which provides the site, comes up for renewal in 2016.  

A DWP spokesperson tells Recruiter: “It is far too premature to speculate about what will happen in 2016… no government minister has been involved in any decision.   

“If a contract is coming to an end, any responsible government should plan for what happens afterwards.”

According to an email seen by the Guardian, data on the site is “not robust”. Other documents indicate that civil servants have largely given up improving the current site.

According to the Guardian, some of the website’s problems stem from ministers’ desire for the site to be as open as possible to employers. This has led recruitment agencies to take advantage by repeating the same ads across the site, with the result that no one can tell how many genuine vacancies are available at any one time.

Problems with the site came to light in recent weeks, with Channel 4 news alleging that one Coventry recruiter had posted 11,000 fake jobs.

Soon afterwards, the DWP removed more than 352,569 jobs posted via 180 employer accounts in connection with potential breaches of the site’s terms and conditions.  

The Guardian says that the DWP has outlined a number of options for overhauling its service to jobseekers. These include:

  • appointing a new company to create a new service that ‘learns the lessons’ from  Universal Jobmatch
  • a site that would only cater for small employers. Jobseekers would be expected to use other sites to find work with large employers

Job board expert Stephen O’Donnell tells Recruiter that the DWP has two main options after the current contract comes to an end. “They could go to any number of job board developers to do that for them, or they could use an existing job board with established technology and buy that,” he says.

“For between £500k and £1m you can get a website that is perfectly serviceable,” he adds.

When contacted by Recruiter, Monster did not wish to comment.

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