Can the public sector learn from the private sector?

Experts from Condatis, Okta and ReadID by Inverid debate what lessons can be learned from the private sector, and the challenges of developing a foundation identity

Posted 24 November 2022 by Christine Horton

How the public sector can work more effectively with the private sector was a topic of debate at last week’s Think Digital Identify for Government event.

Clare White, public sector account manager at Okta believes collaboration between the private and public sectors will lead government customers to work in a faster, more cohesive way.

“I know what good identity looks like, I know what not so good identity looks like, and many of those good experiences develop in the private sector. So let’s take the learnings from there; let’s accelerate how we can make all of our public sector services easy to use and interoperable,” she said.

The difficulty for government is moving at a pace that keeps up with the private sector. “The world of identity, the world of technology, the economy – everything is changing drastically. So we’ve got to be open to change and change is always in a better place when you partner and when you’ve got collaboration.”

White also noted that “Working closely and understanding with parties that are very heavily entrenched in that private sector, why wouldn’t you want to make use of that information, that data, that user behaviour information? It’s all there and it’s available and we should be using that to shape where we go in our public services.”

During the discussion, Jim Slevin, regional director at ReadID by Inverid tackled the subject of creating a foundation identity for citizens. He said where collaboration exists between the public and private sectors – particularly in the authentication space – there is a difference when it comes to verification.

“The private sector is struggling to get that foundation identity. That’s the piece that’s missing: what is our starting point that says this identity exists? And then we can associate the attributes with that individual. That piece is something that the private sector are desperate for. It does exist in some places [but] again, it is not entirely inclusive.”

He said the reason that UK “lost in the court of public opinion” over a national ID was because “it started to turn into this big monster of doing everything, rather than what’s really needed, which is a government-backed, identity verification.”

On the company’s relationship implementing Microsoft solutions, Condatis CEO Chris Tate said the Azure Active Directory has 100 billion authentications every day. “That’s pretty substantial. Some of that is moving through in a centralized space and people want to have federated and centralized information. But why? Why should we necessarily trust that identity that we hold, that attribute and only allowed a government or an organization?

“I don’t trust Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk to have that piece of data and use it in a safe manner. If I have that and I know it’s on a distributed ledger technology, I then choose the points of which I make that available – whether it’s a passport or driving licence or a loyalty card or to make a transaction. I think that would probably, particularly in the UK, re-engage citizens to have a high level of trust if they believed that they had real control over their identity.”

Register to hear the full discussion.