New GOV.UK Verify leader plans to focus on improving service for users and moots NHS use

In her first statement as director of the government’s flagship identity-assurance programme, Jess McEvoy has said the Verify team will prioritise systems to tell users when something goes wrong.

Verify launched in May this year – Photo credit: GOV.UK

McEvoy said that the service would aim to be more specific about the cause of the errors to help users understand what went wrong, and also helping them identify what to do next.

“We’re going to continue our work in this area as a priority, because, by iterating regularly and successfully, we’re showing that we can continuously improve GOV.UK Verify and bring real benefits to users and service providers,” she wrote.

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McEvoy, who was previously head of policy and engagement for Verify, took the helm last week, after the surprise departure of Janet Hughes. Her position is currently on an acting basis.

Commenting on Hughes’ departure, Jessica Figueras, chief analyst at Kable, said that the new Verify team would need “staying power and political guile if they are to deliver on its long-term potential”.

In her inaugural blogpost McEvoy also suggested that the team was working to push out the use of Verify in the NHS, as well as local authorities – pilots of the latter are already underway, with more details expected in autumn.

“The government is committed to maximum possible re-use of GOV.UK Verify across the public sector and beyond,” she wrote. “We’re looking at the viability of offering GOV.UK Verify at scale to other public bodies (for example, the NHS and local authorities) as well as the private sector.”

McEvoy also noted two private beta tests of Verify – allowing people to tell the Drivers and Vehicles Licencing Authority about medical conditions and with the Land Registry to allow people to sign their mortgage deeds.

Other improvements to the service in the pipeline are creating a better process for picking which company should verify a person’s identity, based on the information the person has to hand and improving the hub’s ability to handle traffic.



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