Editorial

DWP: We see Digital Identity as a major 2019 priority

New chief digital and information officer also sees data and AI as his team’s top targets for the next 12 months

Posted 8 January 2019 by

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)’s new IT leader says Digital ID, AI and data are his top development priorities for the year ahead.

The news comes from a blog post last week introducing himself from Simon McKinnon, who is acting as interim CDIO (chief data and information officer) at the Department’s DWP Digital team, and who states that, “I’m particularly excited about the work we’re doing on Trust and assuring someone’s Digital Identity.”

McKinnon goes on to explain why: because this work won’t be “solely about one-time verification of credentials”, but about “proportionality”, which he defines as about continuous authentication, which he sees as about building “a holistic understanding of digital personas and intelligent real-time decision-making for every transaction, based on context and behaviours and building Trust”.

He then states that DWP is continuing to explore how it can use Artificial Intelligence (AI) “in some exciting ways”, and also intends to find new ways to exploit our data to make things easier for our customers.

Another aspect of that data work: continue to “take advantage” of the data that we hold in DWP and can access from other departments to build better solutions, with McKinnon pointing out how last year DWP worked with colleagues from NHS Digital, HMRC, Home Office, MoJ and others in building better user experiences.

McKinnon previously headed up the digital delivery of Children, Health and Pensions Services, which was the team which built a number of digital services including Check your State Pension, Carer’s Allowance and Send Your Fit Note; awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honour’s List, he is acting as head of IT strategy at the Department while a new permanent head is recruited after the departure of the previous incumbent, Mayank Prakash.

“It’s a really exciting time for digital in government as we accelerate our use of technology to improve the services we provide for the people who need them most,” he concludes.

“And in DWP Digital, we’ve got all the necessary foundations in place to successfully deliver our digital transformation ambitions.”