GDS Envisions March 2016 Identity Assurance Completion Date

Dec 05, 2014

The Government Digital Service (GDS) believes all Departments will have integrated the identity assurance programme with their digital public services by March 2016.

According to a briefing by the National Audit Office (NAO) regarding the GOV.UK Verify service, at this point, GDS expects government to stop using Government Gateway for citizens at this point – although it will still be used for business and other verification processes.

The NAO report follows its concerns in 2011 that Whitehall urgently needed to find a better alternative to Government Gateway, the new identity assurance programme’s predecessor.

It claimed that the old system was only capable of providing limited assurance, its weaknesses were becoming increasingly exposed and extending the Gateway’s lifespan would only hinder the digital by default agenda.

The identity briefing assurance notes that GDS is planning to introduce GOV.UK Verify to more complex and high volume systems in the coming years.

Although exact dates for individual services to be added to the programme are not currently known, GDS is beginning to develop joint plans with Departments and is considering publishing these online.

Challenges Facing Identity Assurance

The NAO briefing also identified the challenges of delivering an online identity assurance and what GDS can do to tackle these.

One potential issue is people with low digital skills, but this can potentially be prevented by Departments offering skills training with advice from GDS.

The auditor also believes the Service can help those who may not have access to much digital technology by ensuring identity providers offer alternative technology solutions and Departments offering access to computers.

The NAO report also claims that GDS must act to help those who may have a low identity footprint because they have no passport or footprint – however, GDS claims to already be working on solving this problem by increasing the data available to certified companies.

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