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HMRC Takes Over Government Gateway Phase-Out

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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HMRC said it may extend its own in-house identity verification scheme to other departments once the Government Gateway is terminated

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said it has taken over the process of decommissioning the ageing Government Gateway identity assurance platform and developing a successor.

The platform, introduced in 2001, allows organisations, agents and individuals to prove their identity in order to access government services. It was previously managed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

HMRC Landscape

Succession plans

HMRC said it plans to decommission the existing system by March 2018 and has begun developing an in-house successor scheme for its own users, whom it said represent 90 percent of Government Gateway transactions.

It said other government departments may begin using this replacement service for businesses and agents after Government Gateway is phased out.

“HMRC is exploring options around other government departments also using this replacement service,” the department said in a statement. “This would be restricted to business and agent-facing services only.”

Parallel systems

HMRC said individuals are to be required to use the troubled GOV.UK Verify scheme in order to access non-HMRC government services.

“Cabinet Office will require other departments to use GOV.UK Verify for any citizen-facing services where customers need to prove their identity,” HMRC stated.

GOV.UK Verify was developed by the Cabinet Office’s Government Digital Service (GDS) as a pan-government identity assurance platform, but it has developed more slowly than expected, with initial complaints by some users that it was overly difficult or impossible to complete the identity-check process.

GDS has said it sees GOV.UK Verify as the successor to the Government Gateway, but Janet Hughes, former head of the identity assurance scheme, said last year there were no plans for using Verify for anything other than individual transactions – it would not, for instance, be used for business services transactions with departments, she said.

The DWP last year contracted Dell to help maintain and decommission the Government Gateway for a two-year period ending in 2018.

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