DCMS and Cabinet Office to create joint Digital Identity Unit

Cross-departmental body will help to create digital identity market, Cabinet Office says


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By Sam Trendall

14 Jun 2019

The Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are preparing to set up a team to foster cooperation between the public and private sectors on digital identity, as the GOV.UK Verify tool heads into commercial ownership.

The government is shortly to launch a consultation on how it can “deliver the effective organisation of the digital identity market”, the Cabinet Office announced this week. This process will focus on how best to ensure interoperability by setting “rules of the road” for private-sector providers.

Once the consultation is complete, the government set out more detailed plans – the delivery of which will be the responsibility of the newly-created Digital Identity Unit. 


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Jointly run by the Cabinet Office and DCMS, the unit's remit will be to “help bring the public and private sector together, [and] ensure the adoption of interoperable standards, specification and schemes”, the Cabinet Office said.

Verify, an identity-assurance tool developed by the Government Digital Service, will be handed over to five of its commercial partners in April 2020. The product’s new private-sector owners will be responsible for its development from that point, with no further government money invested thereafter.

Government has begun the process of developing a commercial framework through which, from April onwards, public-sector bodies can access Verify and other digital identity tools. With 20 government services relying on Verify, a key consideration is ensuring that any deal protects the continuity of citizen services, the Cabinet Office said.

“GDS will continue to ensure alignment of commercial models that are adopted by the developing identity market to build a flourishing ecosystem that delivers value for everyone,” it added.

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