Warwickshire runs successful identity assurance pilot

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has completed the first local government trial of the government’s identity assurance scheme for the public sector.

The county worked with the Government Digital Service, which is developing the system, to partner with a number of external vendors, including Mydex, PayPal and Verizon.

The trial was partly aimed demonstrating how the new assurance system could replace these vendors’ proprietary identity assurance infrastructure.

Ian Litton, strategy, programme and information manager at the council said: “The partnership met the objective of identifying an approach that would work across local government, and not just in WCC.”

He said that providing an assured online identity system that could be reused across multiple tiers of government would provide benefits for users of online public services.

He said that the test met the aims of supporting different levels of identity assurance proportionate to risk, removing the need for the council to act as an identity provider and meeting strict security and privacy standards.

Low risk transactions, such as signing up for personalised web site alerts, were passed to social media identity providers (Google, Facebook or Twitter), while high risk transactions were passed to the Identity Assurance Programme (IDAP) Hub – part of the wider government’s identity assurance framework.

Litton said: “This project allowed us to clarify our strategic approach to customer identity assurance, and gain an in-depth understanding of the government’s IDAP Hub.”

WCC engaged supplier Ping Identity to provide a key element of the internal architecture for the project, channelling credential requests from applications to the appropriate identity provider.

A second project is now underway with WCC, GDS, Mydex, Verizon and Ping Identity around attribute exchange, something not yet implemented in the IDAP Hub.
Last month, Milton Keynes Council announced that it would also carry out a trial of the GDS identity assurance system.

Colin Marrs

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