Categories: ProjectsPublic Sector

Delayed Gov.UK Verify Identity Authentication Platform Will ‘Go Live Next Week’

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has confirmed the delayed Gov.UK verify service will go live “next week” after passing the ‘Digital by Default Service Standard’ assessment to prove its suitability and security for the public sector.

Verify will allow citizens to authenticate their identity online with a number of providers to use with government services, such as tax returns with HMRC.

More than 50 government services are planning to adopt the scheme, with 20 of them set to join in the next year.

Read More: Digital Will Change Way Citizens Interact With Government By 2030

Gov.UK verify

The service was due to come out of beta testing at the end of last month, but its launch was delayed because of the complexity of the project.

Early testers complained that Experian, the only identity-check service initially available, presented an overly complicated verification process that in some cases was slow or impossible to complete. GDS says it has a “hypothetical” target of a 90 percent success rate, having reached 77 percent during resting in January.

Passing the digital by default standard means Verify is ready for larger scale deployments in the public sector.

“Going from beta to live is an important moment for GOV.UK Verify, and we’re all very proud and excited to have got here,” said Janet Hughes, programme director. “It won’t be a dramatic change in what GOV.UK Verify looks like, and it certainly doesn’t mean we’ve finished developing the service.

“We’ve got a lot of services in our pipeline preparing to start using GOV.UK Verify over the next year (it will be a gradual, careful, ongoing process, not a ‘big bang’ switchover).”

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GDS plans

Eight certified companies are now available for carrying out identity checks, including the Post Office, and more data sources, such as mobile phone contracts and bank accounts, have been added to aid authentication.

GDS was formed in 2011 and is overseen by the Cabinet Office. Its main goal is to deliver ‘Government as a Platform’, providing shared standards and infrastructure for government departments to build services on top of.

In 2012 it launched Gov.UK as a central hub for the government’s online resources and there are more than 800 services online. Future plans include Gov.UK pay, which will allow businesses and citizens to pay online for central government services by 2020, including passports, driving licenses and other motoring fees.

Stephen Foreshew-Cain, head of GDS, says digital has the potential to transform the civil service to the point that some parts of Whitehall won’t exist by 2030.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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