A first tier tribunal recently ruled that compulsory registration with Universal Jobmatch (UJ), as a condition for benefit entitlement, was a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which provides a right to respect for one’s “private and family life, his home and his correspondence”. However, it is apparent that this decision does not set a legal precedent.
The case hinged on a refusal to agree a Jobcentre ‘Claimant Commitment‘ that included compulsory registration with UJ. It also raised issues on whether there was, in fact, any right of appeal against outright refusal to agree a ‘Claimant Commitment‘ and the contingent benefit claim being subsequently closed.
The tribunal gave the DWP leave to appeal, which they did not pursue, it added that “Only the High Court can make a declaration of incompatibility“. IE: Law enabling compulsory UJ registration is not incompatible with the Human Rights Act (1998) (ECHR Article 8 convention rights).
The appellant has written a follow up on the Unemployment Movement’s forum.
From June 2013 to June 2015 the DWP made 3,500 sanction referrals relating to UJ.
It is still worth checking out claimants basic UJ rights, it is understood that items 1, 2 and 3 remain correct.
Looking for a Job goes Orwellian
As no dedicated privacy impact assessment has been undertaken for Universal Jobmatch it is difficult not to conclude it will contravene the Data Protection Act in terms of consent and engage the Human Rights Act (ECHR Article 8) principle that “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.” Nor has anything been published about how the technology will be used, by the Government and external contractors, to view the activities of people not claiming any welfare benefits.”
Source: Looking for a Job goes Orwellian (2012) https://zine.openrightsgroup.org/features/2012/looking-for-a-job-goes-orwellian