Editorial

GDS runs ‘discreet pilot’ on successor to Verify

Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez MP confirms pilot of a new digital identity system as a successor to GOV.UK Verify

Posted 23 March 2021 by

The government is running a “discreet pilot” of a new digital identity system as a successor to GOV.UK Verify.

Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez MP confirmed the pilot at The Investing and Savings Alliance (TISA) conference last week, according to a report by UK Authority. She said it is being led by the Government Digital Service (GDS),

Julia Lopez MP

“Our discrete digital identity pilot project, deliberately small in scale at the start, will create the proof of concept. This will be led and coordinated by GDS, co-designed with Whitehall departments and public services, and be largely government built and government owned,” said Lopez.

“Initially, it will connect only a small number of services but will have the capability to grow rapidly once the scheme is judged to be on track.”

Lopez added that the goal is to develop a successor both to the ill-fated Verify and other digital identity systems used in government.

“While the best elements of Verify will be reused where appropriate, all parties are keen to move on from Verify’s over-elaborate expectations trajectory and cost,” Lopez said. “Good progress on our pilot is expected in coming months, with joint discovery work due to accelerate further.”

Trialling personalisation

Lopez related the plan to the development by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) of the recently published trust framework for digital identities across public and private sectors.

She also tied it to the development of a GOV.UK account for the public, work on which began with a trial account linked the Brexit Checker, and which is aimed at enabling government to push targeted advice and information to account holders.

“Over the rest of the year, the next stage of our work focuses on trialling personalisation and how – based on the information users are happy to provide about their circumstances – we can offer them a more tailored service with easier and quicker access to relevant information,” Lopez said.

The minister also reportedly highlighted the Cabinet Office’s ambition for government to get better at sharing and analysing information across departments. She pointed to the Data Standards Authority’s work on the government’s API Catalogue and on reference data, saying this will underpin the work on GOV.UK accounts and digital identity.

The Cabinet Office plans to withdraw its support for Verify later this year, after being kept going to facilitate a surge in sign-ups for universal credit due the pandemic lockdown.