GDS to expand Verify team as pressure to increase user numbers mounts

Written by Rebecca Hill on 16 March 2017 in News
News

The Government Digital Service is recruiting for a new service manager for its identity assurance programme Verify as as part of the push to increase users of the service by more than 20 million.

GDS is to move to new headquarters in the summer - Photo credit: Derwent London

GOV.UK Verify lets people to register just once to access to a range of government services by allowing certified companies, such as the Post Office and Barclays, to verify their identities online.

The service went live almost a year ago, in May 2016, and currently has just 1.13 million registered accounts.

The government has made increasing this to 25 million by 2020 a central part of its recently published Transformation Strategy, and GDS is planning to expand both the service and the team that runs it.

“Over the coming year, the [Verify] service will expand to take on additional government services, including services from local authorities,” GDS said in a blogpost.

“It will expand the means of assuring identities to encompass lower levels of identity proofing, as well as integration with international identity schemes to cover more people than ever before.”


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Part of this will see the team bringing in a new service manager, which the Cabinet Office said was an additional role to boost the Verify team.

“This is a new phase for Verify, where we are working on more initiatives and with more pace than ever before,” the post said.

“We want someone who is as committed to transformation as we are, and in return we will offer a friendly, supportive working environment full of people who want to make a difference.”

The new recruit should be “someone who lives and breathes digital transformation”, GDS said, and will need to have a combination of “vision, drive, and product and technical acumen”.

They will be responsible for developing a vision for GOV.UK Verify and promoting the growth of the service across the rest of government, and bring in a salary of £70,000.

The move to recruit a new person into the team comes as pressure is mounting on the government to make Verify the service of choice for all departments.

HMRC recently came under fire for suggesting it would continue developing its own, separate identity assurance scheme to replace its Government Gateway programme when it expires in 2018 – an agreement that was made in November 2016.

However, it later issued a correction that aimed to emphasise that the new service would only be for businesses, publishing a statement saying that it was “committed” to using Verify for individuals.

Speaking at a Westminster e-Forum event on 16 March, Daniel Thornton, programme director at the Institute for Government, said that broad adoption of Verify - such as its use by HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions - would be a “key test” of how government is doing on digital.

“It’s clearly something [the government] needs to sort out,” said Thornton, adding that without increased buy-in, the credibility of the messages from both the centre of government and GDS risked being undermined.

The closing date for applications for the Verify service manager is 28 March and the interviews will be held in the week beginning 10 April.

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