Editorial

Major UK gov Digital Identity figure Lisa Barrett resigns

‘Computer Weekly’ claims a scoop – that the director of digital identity at GDS and head of Verify programme is leaving Whitehall

Posted 10 March 2020 by

Computer Weekly website claimed this afternoon that it had learned that a central UK public sector Digital Identity stakeholder is leaving post.

That’s no less a heavyweight than Lisa Barrett, who the magazine’s editor, Bryan Glick, claims will be leaving the Government Digital Service (GDS) as early as next week.

Barrett, director of digital identity at GDS and who was in the job for a little over a year, was the main keynote speaker outlining the current state of GOV.UK Verify as recently as February’s Think Digital Identity For Government 2020.

The story quotes a Cabinet Office spokesperson as informing the site that, “Lisa is leaving to take up a new role in the private sector. We would like to thank [her] for her incredible energy, commitment and dedication to GDS over the last year, and wish her every success for the future. We will announce her replacement in due course.”

The news is framed by Computer Weekly, which has been something of a public sceptic of Verify’s progress, as indicating yet more behind the scenes issues with the programme, which is due to stop receiving taxpayer funding at the end of the month:

“[Barrett’s] departure will inevitably raise further questions over the future of Verify and the wider digital identity strategy.

“Funding for Verify is due to end in March after an estimated £175m has been spent on the programme. The intention was that Verify would become self-funding through the private sector identity providers (IDPs) involved with the scheme, but as of April only two of the existing five IDPs – the Post Office and the Dutch firm Digidentity – will remain actively involved.

GDS has been tight-lipped about plans for Verify, leading to speculation that an announcement will be contained in the Budget, which takes place 11 March.

“Several Verify-related initiatives were announced last year and have been in limbo pending further updates.”

We will continue to update you on this story, which may have more developments out of tomorrow’s Budget, as CW indicates.