GDS names 19 councils to take part in local Verify pilots

Nineteen councils have been chosen to take part in the local government trial of the identity assurance programme Verify, as GDS announces plans to look at council tax next.

GDS has announced the names of the 19 councils that are taking part in pilots of GOV.UK Verify – Photo credit: GDS

The pilots, which will look see whether GOV.UK Verify can be used for the provision of bus passes for older people and resident’s parking permits, include award-winning digital councils Camden, Wigan and Northumberland.

Verify, which was launched for central government in May, allows certified companies to check a person’s identity using payment histories, such as mortgages or credit checks, and photographic ID, to give citizens a single sign-on for a range of government services.

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The pilots will introduce or improve online services for the first time applications for permits and passes, so people don’t have to bring, scan or post any documents to prove who they are.

At the same time as announcing the councils that will be working on the permit and pass pilots, GDS outlined bigger plans for the next phase of the trials.

According to a blogpost, more than 90 councils said they wanted to work with GDS to redesign more complex, high value and high impact services, such as council tax and customer accounts.

GDS said it would be inviting interested councils to discovery events on reuse accounts – which are used to access a number of local authority services – to be held on 26 October, and on housing benefit and council tax reduction in November.

The service began work on the local version of Verify some months ago, holding a series of discovery events to identify the best areas to start the trials, and in June the GDS lead on the local move, Michael Clark, revealed that Warwickshire was already on board.

Now, following a short application process, GDS has announced the other councils working on the pilots.

Eight councils, including Wigan, Newcastle, Sunderland, Barnet and Oxfordshire, are working on only residents’ parking permits, while five, including Warwickshire and Essex, are working only on bus passes.

A further six, including Camden, Northumberland and Buckinghamshire, are working on both aspects of the pilots.

Jess McEvoy, the interim programme director for Verify, said: “The pilots are a true collaboration across a large number of organisations, working in the open. I’m really delighted with the response we’ve received from local authorities so far and all the input we’ve had from the sector in shaping our approach. We can’t wait to get started.”

GDS said that the central government team would visit councils to understand their processes, which will be followed by discovery workshops on 18 October, after which the project plans will be agreed on.

Meanwhile, the group held its first supplier engagement event yesterday so ensure that suppliers are kept up-to-date with the plan.


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