JobcentreProPlus Has Ceased Operations
This noticed appeared in 2009:
Job Centre Pro Plus, which allowed users to find jobs near them through a post code search has closed. It is particularly galling that Royal Mail is simultaneously trying to make people redundant, and closing a service which could help their ex-workers get a new job.
This was the Job Centre Pro Plus website.
Content is from the site's 2009 archived pages.
JobcentreProPlus is currently experiencing technical difficulties because of ongoing legal action by Royal Mail
Our provider of postcode data, ernestmarples.com, has been taken offline because of legal action. Until we find an alternative source, JobcentreProPlus may return inconsistent results.
We apologise for the inconvenience.
Legal threat closes postcode feed
The Royal Mail owns and maintains the database of postcodes
Websites that help people find jobs or hospitals have been hit by legal action threatened by the Royal Mail.
The threat was issued against the company supplying them, and many other sites, with postcode data.
Royal Mail said the legal action was threatened to stop "unauthorised access" to the postcode data.
Ernestmarples.com, which supplied the address data, said it did not have the resources to fight a legal battle so has turned off its feed.
Sites affected by the withdrawal of data include Job Centre Pro Plus, HealthWare (locates nearby pharmacies and hospitals), Planning alerts.com (monitors planning applications), Straight Choice (finds out who sent political leaflets) and many more.
Commenting on its action the Royal Mail said: "We have not asked anyone to close down a website.
"We have simply asked a third party to stop allowing unauthorised access to Royal Mail data, in contravention of our intellectual property rights," it added in a statement.
The third party was Ernestmarples.com which supplied postcode data to the sites. Typically those wanting to use the regularly updated list of 1.7 million postcodes pay the Royal Mail for access.
Many of the sites hit by the action are volunteer efforts that would be unable to afford the licence fees - about £4000 per annum for unlimited access.
Harry Metcalfe, co-founder of Ernestmarples.com, declined to say how it got access to the postcode data.
"There are certain legal questions around the specifics of what we are doing," Mr Metcalfe told BBC News. "The advice we have received so far is that allowing the service to continue operating while we attempt to resolve this issue would be unwise."
In the interim, the company is searching for alternative free sources of postcode data even though those are known to be less accurate and not as regularly updated.
Mr Metcalfe said Ernestmarples.com would talk to the Royal Mail about getting access to the full postcode data.
Ernestmarples.com is named after the post master general who oversaw the introduction of postcodes in 1959.
Jim Killock, head of the Open Rights Group which campaigns on digital issues, said the action showed why the UK needed a more open approach to official data.
"It is easy to see that large numbers of small business ideas and not for profit services are being blocked by these licence fees," he said. "It is in effect a tax on innovation."
Royal Mail lawyers demand closure of postcode lookup site
Ernest Marples Postcodes Ltd loses will to live
By Kelly Fiveash 6 Oct 2009 | www.theregister.co.uk/
A UK postcode lookup service has been slapped with a cease and desist letter from the Royal Mail, forcing it to close down its website.
Until last Friday (2 October) North London-based Ernest Marples Postcodes Ltd had been providing web outfits with an API to power their sites that helped people search for information specific to their area.
However, the two-man operated site, which was launched by Richard Pope and Harry Metcalf in July this year, is currently declaring that it “has been disabled because of legal action.”
The Royal Mail confirmed to The Register that its lawyers had indeed sent out a letter to Ernest Marples Postcodes Ltd. It gave us this statement:
"We have not asked anyone to close down a website. We have simply asked a third party to stop allowing unauthorised access to Royal Mail data, in contravention of our intellectual property rights."
Ernest Marples Postcodes Ltd declined to reveal where it gets its data.
“We don’t hold a copy of the postcode database ourselves, neither in complete form nor as part of a cache,” it claims on its site.
It said that since being served with the letter, a number of services including Job Centre Pro Plus, which allows people to track down jobs in their local area, have been affected by the Royal Mail's take down request.
"We are not in a position to mount an effective legal challenge against the Royal Mail’s demands and therefore have closed the ErnestMarples.com API effective immediately," it said.
The Open Rights Group's executive director Jim Killock took the opportunity to have a dig at the Royal Mail.
“It’s outrageous that Royal Mail should be sacking workers and at the same time trying to close a service that might help them find work," he said yesterday.
Around 121,000 UK postal workers currently face the axe.
“Postcodes were created with public money, so they need to be used for the widest public benefit. Ernest Marples have been showing how this can be done. Their ideas need to be legalised for non-profit use, not shut down," he added. “Intellectual Property rules need to work for society, and not the other way round."
Other services affected by the Royal Mail's letter include Planning Alerts and The Straight Choice, both of which had been using Ernest Marples Postcodes Ltd's API.
As it currently stands, anyone wishing to use postcode data legally needs to annually cough up anything between £85 for a single use licence to £75,000 for a corporate licence.
In 2007 the Royal Mail made about £1.6m from licensing the Postcode Address File (PAF) database.
“It is easy to see that large numbers of small business ideas and not for profit services are being blocked by these licence fees - it is in effect a tax on innovation,” claimed Killock.
It's not clear at this stage if the Royal Mail plans to target other websites for being in "contravention" of its IP, but a simple search on Google brings up plenty of services offering UK postcode APIs.
Typical Postings from 2009
FLUID MECHANICAL SYSTEMS ENGINEERS
A leading provider of Aerospace Systems Engineering and Design Services is seeking 4 Fluid Mechanical Systems Engineers. The successful candidate will work as part of a team dedicated to working on Airbus 400M fluid mechanical fuel systems work packages. Responsibilities will include supplier qualification testing, and compiling/monitoring statements of work for the A400M refuel/vent subsystem. Candidates should hold a degree (or equivalent) in Aerospace Engineering and experience of fluid mechanical systems/fuel systems, within the aerospace sector. Airbus A400M experience is essential. Contract or permanent roles are available. To apply, please forward a CV to email@example.com or call 0121 460 3945 for more information. This vacancy is being advertised on behalf of Morson International who are operating as an employment business.
You can apply for this job by sending a CV/written application to Sarah Perry at Morson International, 3 Trinity Park, Birmingham, B37 7ES, or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
37 hours over 5 days
key skills in selling. main duty is selling advertising space in a booklet which is distributed to 50,000 homes in Corydon. previous experience essential. commission of 10% of the generated revenue paid.
You can apply for this job by sending a CV/written application to Nico Pirnazari at Fast Cash Purchase.com, 1a Church Road, CROYDON, CR0 1SG, or to email@example.com.
potential £10,000 p.a
Days , Evenings
Fast Cash Purchase.com
No details held
Working in a partnership with another installer and sometimes in a larger team you must demonstrate an ability to understand and work from plans, have a skill set compatible with fitting both wooden and metal furniture and have a high standard of workmanship and pride in completing the project to an excellent standard. Must be a driver ideally with a clean licence and a good overall standard of education. Personal qualities required include being self-motivated, have a good work ethic, an ability to deal with people at all levels sometimes in difficult circumstances. Must be able to travel throughout the UK and stay away from home for most of the week. Would suit shop fitter, carpenter, joiner or similar.
For further details about job reference CAB/30550, please telephone Jobseeker Direct on 0845 6060 234. Lines are open 8.00am - 6.00pm weekdays, 9.00am - 1.00pm Saturday. All calls are charged at local rate. Call charges may be different if you call from a mobile phone. Alternatively, visit your local Jobcentre Plus Office and use the customer access phones provided to call Jobseeker Direct. The textphone service for deaf and hearing-impaired people is 0845 6055 255.
CAERPHILLY, MID GLAMORGAN
39+ PER WEEK, MONDAY-FRIDAY, DAYS AND EVENINGS
£7.50-£8 PER HOUR
Days , Evenings
No details held
Must be 18+ due to licensing laws. Previous experience preferred but not essential as training will be given. Duties to include serve food and drinks to guests and visitors inline with company brand standards, food hygiene regulations and licensing laws. To clean and set up the meeting rooms, to clear tables to the kitchen and ensure the dining and buffet area is kept clean and tidy, at the end of service clear the buffet and store open as per food hygiene regulations. Exempted vacancy Employment Equality Act (Age) Regulations 2006.
You can apply for this job by sending a CV/written application to Gina Wilkes at Ramada Birmingham North, Cannock (RAM), firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRIDGTOWN, CANNOCK, STAFFS
0-40 PER WEEK OVER 7 DAYS BETWEEN 6PM-MIDNIGHT
MEETS NAT MIN WAGE
Days , Evenings , Weekends
Ramada Birmingham North, Cannock (RAM)
No details held
This vacancy is being advertised on behalf of Impact Personnel Solutions who is operating as an employment business. Drivers needed to work onsite at Blackbushe Car Auctions. Flexible hours available working 16 - 24 hours per week between 9am - 5pm. Ideal candidate must be able to start work immediately and have a clean driving licence.
You can apply for this job by telephoning 0845 2508111 and asking for Lynsey Connolly.
£5.80 PER HOUR
Impact Personnel Solutions Ltd
No details held
JobcentreProPlus.com was brought to you by Sam Smith & The Dextrous Web.
On Saturday March 7th 2009 Rewired State held "National Hack The Government Day" at the new Guardian offices in Kings Cross. 80 developerscreated working projects from public sector information between 10am to 6pm, and presenting them to government officials and the media in the evening, before heading to the pub.
Over 30 hacks were created, from fully working sites to groundwork to much bigger projects. Job Centre Pro Plus was a clean rewrite of the Job Centre Plus government website, allowing job seekers to quickly and easily find jobs by keyword within their local area, and subscribe to email alerts to future additions. Along the same lines, there was a rewrite of the official Active Places website, which in 8 hours, 3 developers had been able to create a much better website that cost the government over £5m to build, and added accessibility and mobile support.
Companies Open House made a big dent in the very painful process of making registered (and public) details of UK companies more accessible and hackable. Fix My Site provides a nice way of providing feedback on public sector websites, so we can all help them improve.
Job Centre Pro Plus and Companies Open House each got a Rewired State prize, Fix My Site won a special prize.
High tech jobs were among the types of employment most harmed by the shutdown, since postings for these types of jobs were both rare even though they were much sought after. Some examples were the searches by the tech sector employers for experienced Kubernetes developers and DevOps architects. Both of these skill sets required many years of both training and on the job experience, yet the numbers of qualified applicants was extremely small. Other examples included experienced managers of data science, big science, cloud computing, and other very recently introduced disciplines. One area that was consistently in demand but lacking in qualified applicants was search engine optimization or seo. Established firms like TNG/Earthling tended to hire directly through personal relationships or the tech grapevine - and this company's reputation is a draw for applicants eager to learn the trade from the inside.
DirectGov Innovations were so impressed by the hacks, that they have offered support to 4 of the projects, and 4ip sprung into action and are now in talks with 3 of the projects about funding further development.
And there was so much more, more than I can write here. But not more than other people can write. Have a look at our buzz page for more.