GDS collaborating across government on its new digital ID system

GDS calls for a “joined up approach” to help people use one sign in across multiple governments departments

Posted 15 July 2021 by Christine Horton

The government has reiterated the need for “an easier, more joined-up experience” for people singing in to digital services.

In a blog post, Martyn Taylor, director of digital identity, Government Digital Service (GDS) said there was a clear consensus that time for a better solution.

Currently, departments delivering government services currently have to build or buy their own sign-on and identity services, resulting in people having to enter the same information multiple times when accessing different services.

“Running multiple systems in this way also leads to added cost to the taxpayer and, because it is hard for different services to share information with each other, reduced capability for government to tackle fraudulent access to its services in a joined-up way,” said Taylor.

In May, Taylor outlined the new single sign on (SSO) and digital identity assurance system – which has the working title of ‘One Login for Government’. The pilot is scheduled to go live with a small number of government services by next Spring, he said.

“We’re now working with colleagues across government to develop one simple, secure way for people to sign in and prove who they are,” he said this week. “We are focused on reusing the deep expertise we have in government today, not on re-inventing the wheel. We’re also working with colleagues across government on a roadmap for migrating existing systems to the new solutions.”

Working with teams across government

Taylor said that building a solution flexible enough to meet the needs of different services and their users requires a cross-government effort. As such, GDS has adopted a collaborative approach.

“We are already working with and learning from experts from more than 30 service teams within central departments – but we’d like to work with more,” he said.

He said it was vital that GDS “builds on the many lessons we have collectively learned from products already in use across departments, including GOV.UK Verify.”

Taylor said this all feeds into GDS’ vision to provide “proactive, personalised and joined-up services on GOV.UK.”

In her blog post last month, Jen Allum, director of GOV.UK, shared an update on the role of a GOV.UK account in personalising users’ experiences.

“Both the digital identity and GOV.UK account teams are working towards the common goal of developing a more seamless experience of interacting with government,” said Taylor.