13 May 2014


From time to time, DWP spokesmen say things that I and others find difficult to swallow. This post is about two such items and efforts to "fact check" such utterances.

1. Universal Jobmatch.is a jobs website run for the DWP by Monster Inc.It's received quite lot of adverse criticism because of the "bogus jobs" advertised on it and the suspicion that it's more about policing claimants job searching that actually helping them find work.

Then I saw  a letter from Neil Couling (Head of Jobcentre Plus, DWP) and Sal Iannuzzi (CEO, Monster) saying:

With millions of active jobseekers over the last year, those best placed to judge the system, our users, tell us they like it and that it makes a real difference to how they look for work.
This surprised me so I asked for full details of the evidence relied on for the assertion that users like Universal Jobmatch. You might have expected a multinational corporation and a large government department to have extensive information - survey results perhaps. You'd be wrong. The essence of their reply is here:
Jobseekers, who have been using Universal Jobmatch, have provided anecdotal informal feedback on the service to Advisers and Work Coaches at Jobcentre Plus offices across the country. This feedback indicates that jobseekers like Universal Jobmatch and that it makes a real difference to how they look for work. 
Remember, that's the full basis of the assertion.

2. The other surprising utterance (again by Mr Couling) was to the Scottish Welfare Reform Committee on Tuesday 29th April 2014
Neil Couling: ... My experience is that many benefit recipients welcome the jolt
that a sanction can give them.
The Deputy Convener: So, jobcentres across the country have been inundated with thank you cards from people who have received sanctions.
Neil Couling:Yes that is not so remarkable.
The full report of the meeting can be found here

There have been several FOI requests asking for evidence, see here and here

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