Jobseekers and the JobSeeker Agreement (JSA) data (FOI)
Jobseekers and the JobSeeker Agreement (JSA) data (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 24 March 2015.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Confirm that when income support claimants who are jobseekers are asked to disclose “previous convictions” on their Jobseeker’s Agreement form, the Department requires the jobseeker to include relevant details of any ‘out of court disposals’ obtained either as a child or an adult in the UK and other jurisdictions about which the Jersey Rehabilitation of Offenders legislation is currently silent, for example, UK warnings and cautions or “protected cautions” and “protected convictions”. If it does not require the jobseeker to provide details of such out of court disposals, explain why the jobseeker is not informed of this.
Confirm that in spite of the existence of a UK Supreme Court ruling in 2014 declaring that that the UK Government had violated a person’s right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence (article 8 of the ECHR) by disclosing details of two warnings obtained during childhood on that person’s Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate, the Department nevertheless still believes that it is not breaching human rights law by collecting, retaining and sharing substantially the same data (including details of parish hall enquiries) in respect of all Jersey jobseeker benefit claimants.
Confirm that when it asks the jobseeker to disclose “previous convictions” on the Jobseeker’s Agreement form, the Department requires the jobseeker to include relevant details of any convictions that are classed as ‘spent’ under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Jersey) Law 2001. If it does not require the jobseeker to provide details of such ‘spent’ convictions, explain why the jobseeker is not informed of this or the existence of the Rehabilitation of Offenders legislation.
Confirm that the Department extracts the data obtained from the Jobseeker’s Agreement relating to criminal convictions and then uses it for the purpose of providing a general criminal conviction vetting service for the benefit of all prospective employers who contact the Department with details of a vacancy that they wish to fill, whereby such employers are asked at the first point of contact whether or not they will consider employing jobseekers with criminal convictions and depending on their answer, the Department then filters out the applications of certain jobseekers according to their known criminal convictions.
Confirm that by offering this criminal conviction vetting service to prospective employers, the Department thereby holds a database of the names of all jobseekers identifying them with respect to their criminal conviction status and that the Department does not routinely supply the information held on this database to jobseekers who make a Subject Access Request to the Department for details held about them by Back to Work and other similar Department entities.
The current JobSeeker’s Agreement (JSA) is designed to prompt a conversation regarding previous convictions so that the Employment Adviser can provide advice and assist in the search for suitable employment. The jobseeker is not required to declare previous convictions or “out of court disposals” if they do not want to, but the JSA is intended to promote honesty and to avoid wasted time in putting the client forward for unsuitable roles and to give advice on how to approach discussion of convictions with future employers. The JSA is completed by the adviser with the jobseeker present and is a record of the discussion between them when this is all explained.
It is not possible to answer the question with reference to the UK Supreme Court ruling as no reference code has been provided, and that ruling is made in consideration of a specific set of circumstances which may not apply to the department’s processes. However, as stated in the response to part 1, the jobseeker does not have to disclose criminal convictions but disclosing relevant convictions means the employment adviser can ensure the jobseeker is only put forward for suitable roles and this is done with the jobseeker’s agreement.
The Jobseeker’s agreement is completed as part of a discussion with the Adviser. Current procedure is that the jobseeker is not required to provide detail of any convictions including spent: it is up to the jobseeker what they choose to disclose. There are some jobs where even spent convictions would still class the jobseeker as unsuitable and so full disclosure ensures the jobseeker is not put forward for unsuitable roles. If disclosing convictions, either spent or unspent, then jobseekers would be advised appropriately regarding the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Jersey) Law 2001 and further advice sought if necessary.
The Department does not provide a criminal conviction vetting service for employers.
The current procedure is that employers are asked when placing a vacancy with the Department if the role requires a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (which the employer would carry out themselves after recruitment). This is asked so that jobseekers whose conviction would prevent them from carrying out certain roles do not apply unnecessarily.
If someone is working on an unpaid work placement organised by the Department in a role where a DBS check is required then in this case the Department (rather than employer) will organise for this check to take place for the placement to go ahead.
The Department does not provide a criminal conviction vetting service for employers and does not have a database of jobseekers to identify them by their criminal conviction status.
Current procedure is that when any barrier or limitation to finding employment, including a criminal conviction, is declared by the jobseeker then it is recorded on the Department’s database if it is relevant to their jobseeking expectations. This information would be provided if requested in a Subject Access Request to the Department.