Government seeking new tech talent to get GOV.UK Verify system moving

Advert for team of six with a £600,000 war chest appears. What does this signify for the real state of this key government digital service, though?

Posted 10 May 2017 by

The Government Digital Service (GDS) this week announced its search to recruit extra resource in terms of seasoned IT developers to increase take-up in the sector of its identity assurance system, GOV.UK Verify.

Live for a year now, GOV.UK Verify is all about offering the public a single log-in for a wide range of government services by allowing certified companies to check their ID.

But the scheme’s come under attack fro slow take up, with only 1.3 million registered users – and it looks like to get to its ambitious target, set out in the recent Government Transformation Strategy of 25 million by 2020, the Cabinet Office has decided it needs more shoulders to the wheel.

This week GDS posted a Digital Marketplace ad for a team of developers to work on European identities, a project said to be all about improving the way government services connect to the service and on the document checking service.

“We require additional development capability for a large number of projects on a flexible basis,” the page states, with an aim of driving “the adoption of Verify through delivering on the technical projects described, and thereby making the project work better for citizens.”

The work must start by 3 July and is expected to run for six months, with a budget between £550,000-£650,000 for a team of five or six “senior or lead developers”.

That war chest will include the design, installation, testing and maintenance of software systems, including front end testing and continuous development on the document checking service.

One key strand: improving how government services onboard to use Verify (there are currently just 12 central government services signed up though 100 were seen as possible).

GDS is also working on reducing the level of assurance needed for people to register on the service, with various levels of security needed, which some some commentators say may be inhibiting the kind of rapid take-up GDS wants for the service.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson told public sector IT site PublicTechnology.Net that, “The Government Transformation Strategy, released earlier this year, is clear in terms of Verify – it continues to be a key priority for the Government Digital Service.”