GDS puts data and standards among priorities for Verify handover period

Written by Sam Trendall on 4 January 2019 in News
News

Digital agency lays out plans for working with private companies and other departments over the next 18 months

The Government Digital Service has put improving standards and use of government among its key priorities for the GOV.UK Verify platform over the coming months.

It was announced three months ago that responsibility for Verify is to be handed over to the service’s private-sector partners. An 18-month contract signed by the government in October represents the last public money that will be spent on developing and supporting the identity-assurance tool.

In a blog published just before Christmas, GDS picked out five priorities for Verify during this handover period, which ends in 2020. The organisation will work towards these goals alongside “a number of other government departments”.


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The first priority for the future of Verify is to “help make the standards for digital identity easier to follow and use”. In this area, GDS will work with various public and private partners to try and ensure that standards can be more easily understood and deployed by government departments and other users of the platform. There will also be a drive to increase the number of methods through which citizens can prove their identity.

The second target set out by GDS is to “help digital identities work across private and public sector services”.

The third goal is to improve the use of government data.

“The government has data about its users that public and private organisations can use to help verify users’ identities. This data is never stored in one place or shared without users’ permission,” GDS said. “Making better use of it means more users can prove who they are online and access more services faster.”

The penultimate priority for the 15 months ahead is to try and boost confidence in the wider digital identity sector. This will involve GDS working with other stakeholders and individual users of identity services to “provide a clear data, standards and assurance model”. This will help “open up the market and build private and public sector understanding”, GDS said.

The final target laid out by the organisation is to work step up its work with a wide range of parties, including “other parts of government, standards bodies, trade associations, GOV.UK Verify identity providers and other private sector organisations”.

“We'll make sure users can prove their identities and access the services they need to more easily,” GDS said. “Together, we’ll do the hard work so users do not have to.”
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