More Government Services Sign Up for Identity Verification Scheme

Eleven government digital services are to begin trials of GOV.UK Verify by March, following initial reliability problems.

By Matthew Broersma

A total of 11 government digital services are planning to adopt the identity assurance service GOV.UK Verify by March of this year, with three services already adopting the program on a trial basis, according to the government.

GOV.UK Verify aims to improve identity assurance for government digital services, replacing the checks currently provided by the Government Gateway, in support of the delivery of the government's wider "digital by default" agenda. It allows users to select one of several providers to perform an identity check, rather than using a single government identity database.

Four of the six services that had planned to connect to the identity verification service by the end of 2014 have done so, with Defra's Rural Payments, HMRC's Self-Assessment and PAYE Change Company Car Details services currently in trials and the Insolvency Service's Redundancy Payments service having connected in December and planning to offer trials to the public this month.

The Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) Change of Address and HMRC's Claim of Overpayment services are due to connect to GOV.UK Verify this month, with three other HMRC services, DWP's Universal Credit and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's View Driving License services to connect by March, according to a government statement.

Reliability Problems

"DWP is continuing to develop its change of address service, including using GOV.UK Verify to allow people to access the service," stated Janet Hughes, head of policy and engagement for the identity assurance program. "This is not likely to become a public-facing service in its own right; it will be part of a range of other digital services."

In October, some early Verify users raised concerns about the reliability of the service and the government said it has worked with contractors on these issues since then. A procurement exercise currently underway aims to appoint up to 10 identity-check providers.