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Careers portal - MSD have deleted vital job application history without notification to MSD job seekers.

D Dahya made this Official Information request to Ministry of Social Development

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From: D Dahya

Dear Ministry of Social Development,

I recently discovered that MSD 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 MSD 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 MSD careers portal but, more so, especially for MSD registered job seekers.

MSD is one of the main agencies that engage in 'data matching' with other agencies - in this case MOJ (Ministry of Justice/for appeals to the Social Security Appeals Authority) and because of this MSD must also be aware that MSD require MSD registered job seekers to provide confirmation of job applications as per their obligations to MSD.

I’m guessing that MSD must be aware of this requirement 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).

I do not need to remind MSD (but will state it regardless)- 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. Refer to point 12.

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, SSA had access to confirmation of job application history within their(MOJ) organisation's very own careers 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.

Ironically, I had discovered that IRD 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 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 the already disadvantaged are not further disadvantaged through ignorance, incompetence or lack of real world knowledge and insight by MSD staff and/or their recruitment processes and systems.

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. MSD 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 –MSD is aware of this as it is their own policy!

I am assuming that MSD must be aware of this requirement from MSD registered job seekers, after all would MSD only be concerned with getting job seekers off the ‘unemployment benefit’ -‘Job seeker allowance’ is the less degrading terminology these days- (which is the core responsibility of MSD) and not the problem their practices/redesigns place on MSD registered job seekers(while they are job hunting) and hence the obstruction to adhering to their obligations to MSD(which is the responsibility of registered job seekers)?

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 MSD’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 insight required for the ‘unemployment’ situation/sector. Refer to Q11,12 & 13 below.

6. The reason why the redesign of MSD'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 had discovered that IRD 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 of which, ironically enough, some were also MSD registered job seekers!

10. I have already lodged an email enquiry with MSD 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.

11. 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 –an agency that engages with MSD in data matching.

12. In 2014 MSD had declined a job application of mine and despite several attempts in asking for a specific reason they finally advised that is was because I didn’t meet the selection criteria, which bewilderingly, my CV had clearly indicated that I had met all criteria.
Strangely enough , they also advised I didn’t have 'recent' experience despite the job advert stating 'recent experience was preferred'.

Oddly, in a later declined application they advised they are willing to teach the new employee.

Even though, as a MSD registered job seeker, I had asked for help and support of this application in whatever form they could provide – my requests went unresponded to by atleast 3 MSD staff members ie case manager, service manager and even a higher level manager.

In pursuing this matter it somehow slipped through the cracks with the Recruitment department.

13. Ironic that the very confirmation that MSD requires of its registered job seekers has been deleted by MSD themselves.

14. I would have expected MSD, of all employers, to encourage(not obstruct) employment for any unemployed job seeker because it would mean getting registered unemployed ‘off their books’- that is MSD’s core purpose!

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 MSD deleted some of the job application histories from the careers portal and not retained all of it after the redesign?

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

4. Why has MSD 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 MSD 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. Why would MSD deleted job application history knowing that MSD registered job seekers are required to produce that information as part of their obligations to MSD?

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. Does MSD generally hire applicants currently in employment or unemployed at time of application?

13. Will MSD’s/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? Refer to point 12.

14. Because, an MSD registered unemployed person, who somehow lacks the skills to be employed(through lack of a reference, or not having ‘recent’ experience) 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 - 'confirmation', being key word in this FYI request. Refer point 11 & 12.

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

15. Why hasn’t MSD ensured that IRD themselves be able to provide this information in case MSD require it from job seekers in future -especially since they engage in data matching with each other.

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

17. If MSD 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 MSD restore the deleted job application histories from their careers portals and, if not, why not?

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

Yours sincerely,

D Dahya

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From: OIA_Requests (MSD)
Ministry of Social Development

Tēnā koe D Dahya,

 

Thank you for your email received 16 November 2020, under the Official
Information Act 1982. Your request has been forwarded to the appropriate
officials at National Office to respond. You can expect a decision as soon
as reasonably practicable, and in any case not later than 20 working days
after the day on which the request was received.

 

Nā mātou noa, nā

 

Official and Parliamentary Information team   |  Ministerial and
Executive Services

Ministry of Social Development

 

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