GDS must consider different data sources for GOV.UK Verify, says TechUK

The representative body for UK tech companies has said that authentication standards for GOV.UK Verify are “likely to be too high” for most local government services.

The GDS service allows people to verify who they are just once – Photo credit: Flickr, Oliver Tacke

TechUK has said it welcomes the Government Digital Service’s efforts to develop a local version of Verify – which gives people a single login across all government platforms – but stressed that the system would need work before it could be applied at a local level.

Verify was launched centrally in May 2016, and GDS is now looking at applying this to local services through a series of pilot schemes, such as in application processes for disabled badges or parking permits.

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In a statement, TechUK said that although GDS had not gone so far as to create a similar body at a local level – which the organisation called for in its 2014 manifesto – it welcomed the efforts to apply models and approaches that have worked centrally to council services.

However, the body said that the current standards for authentication are “likely to be too high for most local government services”.

It urged GDS to work with local government to ensure there was an appropriate mix of data sources and identity providers.

TechUK also called for more clarity on who pays for someone using Verify for the first time at a local level. For instance, it said, if someone is registered with HMRC and then wants to use Verify for a local service, it is clear who pays, but “what happens when it is the other way round?”

In addition, GDS should “undertake greater collaboration with the whole of the tech industry as the new services are developed”, the body said.

It also said that early and effective engagement would be crucial for a successful roll out of the scheme.

As part of the discovery phase of GOV.UK Verify local, GDS is running a series of workshops to understand local government’s needs for a Verify service.

The next session is on 27 July in Bristol and will focus on taxi licensing and parking permits in collaboration with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.


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