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Careers portal - IRD have deleted vital job application history without notification to the unemployed/registered users.

D Dahya made this Official Information request to Inland Revenue Department

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From: D Dahya

Dear Inland Revenue Department,

I recently discovered that IRD had redesigned their careers portal -through which all applicants are required to log into and submit their CV’s to apply for jobs. It also retains all the job applications one has made to IRD through the portal.

I also discovered that the redesigned careers portal did not retain my complete job application history- some of the early history had been deleted and not transferred over to the new portal. This deletion was done without any prior notification or opportunity to obtain a copy of it.

Access to the entire history is important in the general sense, for all job seekers that applied through the IRD' careers portal but, more so, especially for MSD registered job seekers.

IRD is one of the main agencies that engage in 'data matching' with other agencies - in this case MSD (for income & tax purposes etc) and because of this IRD must also be aware that MSD require MSD registered job seekers to provide confirmation of job applications as per their obligations to MSD.

IRD must be aware of this requirement by MSD from MSD registered job seekers, after all would they only be concerned with income and tax issues(responsibility of IRD) and not the problem it places on MSD registered job seekers and their obligations to MSD(responsibility of MSD registered job seekers but not the responsibility of IRD).

MSD's job seeker obligations is essential for one's livelihood as being MSD registered unemployed affords you rights and entitlements otherwise not accessible- because unemployment means limited spending, social & networking ability, lower social(and financial) status and, ironically, reduced employment opportunities(successful applicants tend to be the one's who are already in employment at the time of application). Refer to Q11,12 & 13 below.

Also, due to the Covid19 situation atleast 37000 more people may have signed up for the jobseeker allowance(or became unemployed) this period because of it.

Access to one’s entire job application history is essential to MSD registered job seekers
because they able to exercise their right to dispute any decisions made by MSD which may result in appeals lodged with the Social Security Appeals Authority(SSA- Ministry of Justice) - a judiciary body, who review decisions made by MSD. As part of SSA inquiries the MSD registered job seeker may be required to provide confirmation of past job applications & this may extend to very early application history. As with a recent appeal I lodge last year where the SSA, due to lack of available confirmation of past job applications, made a generalisation (despite not being questioned on the point but the generalisation was made regardless in the absence of opposing information) that was recorded in official judicial documentation casting misleading aspersions on my past job seeking activities.

Despite this, ironically, MOJ had access to confirmation of job application history within their organisation's very own career portal(which would show my numerous applications submitted over the past few years) which, somehow, they failed to recall when publishing their decision. Although, to be fair it could be due to the fact that the SSA haven't thought of accessing that information for use in appeals lodged by MSD registered job seekers previously.

In addition, I had discovered that MSD were also one of the government agencies that had deleted some job application histories of registered portal users after a redesign of their own careers portal- again, without giving prior notification or opportunity to save it, ironically, of which a significant number were also MSD registered job seekers! Woah! I know. Right?

When implementing a redesign of this nature- one involving personal information from those outside of the organisation ie members of the public - are the right people/groups consulted with prior to such changes, after all you are dealing with information belonging to someone else? Refer Q6 below.

I'm assuming that all those that are involved in the processes of redesigning the portal (managers, HR, subject matter experts, IT staff etc) are well informed, knowledgeable, experienced professionals in the area of not only recruitment but the other side of the coin- the 'U' word - 'Unemployment' - and because of their expertise(they must be experts as they have been hired by those themselves who are knowledgeable and skilled in the art of recruitment) they know what they are doing - for the currently employed atleast- and yes, I say this as an MSD registered unemployed job seeker.

And for MSD registered unemployed people, who’s skills are somehow overlooked by recruitment/HR etc (perhaps in favour of someone who is currently employed, has a mortgage, and/or children to support?), while it is true, you do need a job to support a family but don’t you also need a job to start one? Or are we expected to rely on ‘Social Welfare’ (‘Income Support’ is the alternative less degrading terminology to use these days) to raise our children and don’t you need a job to qualify for a mortgage also or, again, rely on the ‘welfare’ system (ie HNZ) for housing?

Points:
The purpose of this request is to highlight that the already disadvantaged are not further disadvantaged through ignorance, incompetence or lack of real world knowledge and insight from IRD/recruitment processes.

How are the points below relevant?
They all relate to unemployment/the unemployed and how hard it is for such people and if you are spending 8 hours a day/5 days a week in your warm cosy office/work space then the least the unemployed should expect is that you exercise SOME insight and knowledge in areas that directly affect them.

1. IRD had deleted job application history without any prior notification or opportunity to obtain a copy of it.

2. The information is essential for MSD registered job seekers as part of their obligations to MSD –IRD is aware of this as they engage in data matching with MSD.

I am assuming that IRD must be aware of this requirement by MSD from MSD registered job seekers, after all would IRD only be concerned with income and tax issues (responsibility of IRD) and not the problem it places on MSD registered job seekers and their obligations to MSD(responsibility of MSD registered job seekers but not the responsibility of IRD)?

3. Access to early job application history(not just recent history & including any attached documents) is crucial, for any potential MSD/SSA(MOJ) appeals processes as, in my case, an issue with MSD resulted in the SSA requiring early job application history - but because I was not able to provide it at an appeal hearing last year they recorded their generalisation on official judicial documentation casting unsubstantiated inferences on my job seeking efforts.

4. A job is required to maintain a family and a mortgage but it is also required to obtain them in the first place.

5. It has taken an unemployed jobseeker to raise this issue despite all the skilled professionals in the organisation.

Perhaps IRD/HR’s tendency to hire applicants that are currently in employment, is most likely due to additional consideration to an applicant’s mortgage and family status and so lack the required insight to the ‘unemployment’ situation/sector. Refer to Q11,12 & 13 below.

6. The reason why the redesign of IRD's careers portal doesn’t reflect the unemployed is that it is targeted for those already in employment ie almost all applicant's hired were NOT currently unemployed long term at the time. Refer to the Q11,12 & 13 below.

7. The careers portal is designed for those currently in employment and the reason for it is that it is NOT designed for the unemployed in mind. Refer to the Q11,12 & 13 below.

8. Ensuring you remain a MSD registered job seeker is essential(adhering to your obligations) while unemployed affording you rights and entitlements otherwise not accessible - ‘essential’ because it allows you to ‘survive’. We are extremely lucky in New Zealand!

9. I have already lodged an email enquiry with IRD to provide me the deleted history (including copies of each of the individual CV's that were attached)- this matter still has not been resolved despite raising it months ago. Refer Q16 & 17 below.

10. There may be a whole raft of reasons for being unemployed but mostly it is due to not getting hired despite having skills and experience and, more importantly, the ability to do the job. For me, initially, when I first became unemployed, the difficulty in gaining employment, was that my former employer reneged on a promise to provide me a reference at the time (so that I could continue employment elsewhere) - while in the presence of the PSA who are still unable to resolve the matter. Ironically, the employer, in this case, was IRD.

11. I would expect IRD, of all employers, to encourage(not obstruct) employment for any unemployed job seeker because it would mean more tax contribution through regular work?

Questions

1. What was wrong with the careers portal that warranted a redesign of it- it was functioning well prior to the redesign and which retained the entire history?

2. Why has IRD deleted some of the job application histories from the careers portal and not retained all of it after the redesign?

3. Why has IRD deleted some of the job application histories from the careers portal without prior notification to the registered portal users?

4. Why has IRD deleted some of the job application histories from the careers portal without giving the registered portal users the opportunity to save a copy?

5. Why has IRD deleted job application histories of registered portal users knowing that this information is required by MSD registered job seekers as part of their obligations to MSD- MSD being an organisation you engage in data matching with?

6. If this is my information - why have you deleted it without my permission?
Perhaps this was a question for the Privacy Commission during Privacy week last week?

7. Are you able to determine registered portal users who are also MSD registered job seekers, if not, then shouldn't you preserve the entire histories of all registered portal users?

8. Who did you consult with prior to redesigning the portal ie which people, groups, subject matter experts?

9. How many unemployed people were consulted prior to the redesign of the careers portal -as they are, obviously the portion of the population most likely to use it?

10. If this is the first time this particular issue has been raised why has it taken an MSD registered unemployed person to do so - despite all the skilled and knowledgeable professionals in your organisation?

11. Of the applicants that were hired how many of them (& what percentage) were long term unemployed at the time of application for year ending 2019 & 2018? Could you provide individual statistics for each respective year.

12. Generally, does IRD hire applicants currently in employment or unemployed at time of application?

13. Will IRD/HR’s tendency to hire applicants that are currently in employment, allow the rich to get richer and the poor to stay poor and will it not cause and sustain long term unemployment?

14. Because, an MSD registered unemployed person, who somehow lacks the skills to be employed(through lack of a reference, or extended period of unemployment) can’t have been the only one to raise this issue whereas, the currently employed skilled professionals, most likely have, and so I ask for confirmation of this (insight) - 'confirmation', being key word in this FYI request.

Why haven’t IRD's knowledgeable and skilled professionals addressed this issue, acknowledged it, or even be aware of it? Refer Q8,9,10 & 11 also.

15 Was IRD aware of the importance of the entire job application history to MSD registered job seekers?

16. Was IRD aware of the requirement by MSD from MSD registered job seekers to be able to provide historical job application history?

17. If IRD have deleted career portal histories, without notification, they need to be able to produce a copy of the deleted history on request from portal users, especially from those that are MSD registered job seekers, for any potential MSD/SSA appeals hearings that may require historic information.

Can IRD restore the deleted job application histories from their careers portals and, if not, why not?

18. Did a representative of IRD/HR attend last week’s Wellington Privacy seminar during Privacy Week and, if not, why not? Refer Q6 above.

Yours faithfully,

D Dahya

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From: oia
Inland Revenue Department

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Good afternoon,

Thank you for your request made under the Official Information Act 1982. We will respond to your request within 20 working days from the date of receipt.

Kind regards
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