Universal Jobmatch and your ‘public CV’: what can an employer see?

Further to a discussion on twitter, the DWP has released information about what an employer can see when they conduct a jobseeker search of ‘public CVs’ on Universal Jobmatch (UJ). The DWP say that employers with Jobmatch accounts cannot see any personal data when they conduct Jobseeker searchs and the full content of a CV is only available to an employer when the Jobseeker applies for a job through UJ, either by sending their CV direct to the employer or through UJ.

“…when an employer conducts a jobseeker search on Universal Jobmatch the search function does not search jobseekers CV’s but instead matches jobseekers to vacancy criteria that an employer has placed on Universal Jobmatch.  The match is based on information that a jobseeker has recorded within their profile on Universal Jobmatch system, for example, skills, location etc”
DWP Central FoI Team – 03/06/2015

Confusion has been caused by the DWP’s use of the term “public CV”, which understandably leads people to believe that employers, if not the public, would have easy access to the full content of a CV.

It seems highly probable that the DWP’s original plan was that UJ users CVs would have had more open access, alongside DWP staff having access to users account. However, as the processing of personal data on UJ can lead directly to benefit sanctions, this came into conflict with Principle 1 of the Data Protection Act, part of which requires that personal data is not processed “in ways that have unjustified adverse effects on the individuals concerned“. Consequently DWP access to a UJ users account needs permission (consent) and use of the term “public CV” is misleading and inappropriate.

This need to ensure personal data is processed fairly and lawfully, under Principle 1, may go some way to explain why DWP compulsory back to work scheme providers do not appear to mandate participants to use UJ privacy invasive benefit sanction clones like myworksearch.co.uk and avantajobs.com.