The Government Digital Service (GDS) has announced that next year it will launch its new virtual ID assurance service, Gov.UK Verify.
With Gov.UK Verify people will be able to prove their identity when using digital services. It is not compulsory; those that choose not to use Gov.UK Verify will be able to access these services by post, over the phone, or at the counter.
Gov.UK Verify, which has been in private beta since February of this year, and public beta since 14 October, will by fully available to the public in 2015.
Gov.UK guidance on the ID scheme points out that: “Before GOV.UK Verify, it wasn’t possible for an individual to verify their identity digitally to this level of assurance.”
With the scheme, users opting in register with a Verify identity provider, such as the Post Office or Experian, and are sent a code that enables them to access digital government services.
This move towards an overarching ID assurance service was previously presented by the Cabinet Office in November 2012 in the Digital Efficiency Report, which stated: “Identity assurance will create a simple, trusted and secure environment for users to access digital public services.”
According to a report in The Times today, driving licences and self-assessment tax returns will be some of the first digital services accessible by Verify — these are set to launch this year. Tax credits and benefit records will follow in March 2015.
In light of the comparatively low cost of a digital transaction against a telephone or face-to-face transaction, Maude stated in the Government Digital Strategy policy paper, published December 2013, that: “Moving to digital by default could save the government £1.7 billion to £1.8 billion every year.”