One Login expected to cost £305m – and deliver £1.75bn benefits

Annual study from Infrastructure and Projects Authority paints positive picture of programme that ‘continued to deliver at pace, successfully meeting its major planned milestones’
An illustration provided by GDS of how One Login works. Photo:

By Sam Trendall

02 Aug 2023

After a year in which it successfully ticked off its core objectives, the GOV.UK One Login programme is on track to provide government with financial benefits of almost six times the system’s £300m delivery cost, a report has revealed.

Government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority has just published its annual report assessing the progress of each of the 244 programmes of work that constitute the Government Major Projects Portfolio.

To indicate its level of confidence in each project, the IPA uses a traffic-light system, by which programmes are rated green, green/amber, amber, amber/red, or red – a rating which indicates that “successful delivery appears to be unachievable”.

The GOV.UK One Login programme has featured in the last two annual roundups – achieving an amber delivery-confidence rating both times. This indicates that delivering work on time and within budget “appears feasible” – albeit subject to “management attention” dedicated to solving “significant issues”.

Detailed departmental data sets published alongside the new IPA report describe a year of solid progress.

“The GOV.UK One Login programme continued to deliver at pace in 2022/23, successfully meeting its major planned milestones”, the IPA data says. “These included the launch of One Login’s web- and app-based identity-checking routes, integrated with its authentication and account functionality, and the onboarding of its first eight government services.

"By year-end, over one million users had successfully proved their identity through One Login. The programme deepened its collaboration with departments, agreeing roadmaps that will see the bulk of central government services move to One Login in the current Spending Review period, in line with the programme’s business case. This progress also enabled the legacy GOV.UK Verify system to be retired, as planned.”

The award of the somewhat cautious amber rating “reflects the challenging pace of delivery, especially as GOV.UK One Login scales up, and the complexity of both the technical solution and the migration of major government services”, the data adds.

“We have multiple services and accessibility issues to consider which makes this a very technical and challenging programme within the product development space,” it says. “Overall confidence is increasing following the upturn in recruitment, careful planning and effective risk management. Onboarding of the first set of services has given further confidence in completion of the programme as scheduled in 2025.”

IPA assessors concluded that civil servants at the Government Digital Service – which built the One Login platform – are on attentive to the challenges faced and are “actively de-risking” the programme.

Reaping the benefits

The authority’s data also, for the first time, provides details of the lifetime costs of creating and implementing the government-wide login system – which are projected to be £305m across the four-year delivery period that is scheduled to conclude at the end of March 2025. About 37% of the overall delivery cost – a £114m – was spent during the 2022/23 year.

Also included by the IPA this year is a projection of the “monetised benefits” that will be enabled by One Login over the coming five years, which will total £1.75bn – almost six times the amount being spent on delivery.

“The cashable savings in the business case include reducing identity verification and authentication costs; reducing total cost of online user support whilst reducing total user support; and, reducing public sector fraud,” the IPA data set said. “We are in the process of developing KPI targets, and developing a dashboard for benefits realisation.”

GDS recently revealed that a total of 819,000 people across the country have completed the full process of creating an account with One Login while, as a result being deployed by HM Revenue and Customs to help validate users’ identity, an additional 691,000 people have been issued with an ID via the system. In total, 1.51 million citizens have used the login tool to access government services to date.

This figure is likely to grow significantly over the coming months, with both HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions slated to begin rolling out the technology across their services within the next year.

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