Socitm calls for identity assurance inclusion

Local authorities must not be excluded from the next procurement round for government information assurance services, Socitm said yesterday.

The professional body for local authority ICT professionals said that that councils are being disadvantaged by their exclusion from the current framework.

The government is currently beginning a second procurement round, and Socitm said it is vital that councils are included this time round.

In a briefing released yesterday it said: “Excluding local authorities from the second procurement round could leave them with no access to the government’s IDA services for a considerable length of time.

“Identity providers may miss out on local authority business, and citizens would lose the potential benefit of a single pan-governmental identity.”

It said that providing a single identity would make citizens more familiar and confident with the system, and help drive channel shift.

The briefing also revealed details of testing for the government’s attempt to extend IA services to attribute exchange, carried out earlier this year with Warwickshire County Council.

The testing concluded that, if the set-up costs can be federated and externalised to private sector suppliers, then use of an identity provider is the cheapest option for public sector clients.

But it added that “questions have been raised as to whether citizens will trust commercial organisations to manage their identity, and commercial models for local authorities to use have yet to be developed”.

Warwickshire used social media and two identity providers, PayPal and Verizon, for authentication.

Users voiced concerns around issues of privacy, and the risk of government transactions appearing on their social media profiles.

In addition, “they were unclear as to why private sector companies were being used to carry out IA on behalf of government in whom they had greater trust.

“Their underlying expectation was that government would be more capable of identifying them than an independent IdP with whom they had no previous relationship.”

But it found that the value of AE lies in being able to use the data in the matching data set to create local accounts and pre-fill forms.In addition, AE could be used to access additional useful attributes that are not part of the data matching set.

“Together these increase the potential to make savings through going digital,” Socitm said.

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Colin Marrs

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