GOV.UK Verify to be extended to cover other countries next year

Written by Sam Trendall on 13 July 2017 in News
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Trials also ongoing in local government and private sector

The government claims that about four in five people are currently able to obtain verification through GOV.UK's Verify system

In little more than a year, foreign citizens will able to use the Verify identity-assurance programme, the Government Digital Service has said.

From September 2018, the service will be able to confirm the identities of people from countries other than the UK. The first nations covered will likely be Germany and other European Union states, but GDS senior business analyst Egle Uzkuraityte said that “our goal and our vision is to extend this beyond the EU”.

Verify, which is currently only available for 12 services offered by various central government departments, is also being trialled in local government – and the private sector. 

Ongoing test projects in the local government space include applying for concession bus passes and parking permits, Uzkuraityte said. In the commercial sector, HSBC is currently experimenting with the technology.


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Verify works by allowing service users to confirm their identity through one of seven companies currently taking part in the programme: SecureIdentity; Royal Mail; CitizenSafe; Post Office; Experian; Barclays; and Digidentity. GDS intends to add more in due course.

Users do not necessarily have to be a registered customer of the firms in question, and identification procedures used include supplying a photograph of oneself, or confirming the details of a 1p payment into your account. Initially registering for Verify takes about 15 minutes, with each subsequent use taking no more than a couple of minutes, the government claims.

There are currently about 1.31 million registered accounts, although Jyoti Basuita, another GDS senior business analyst, said that about 80% of the UK population could currently obtain verification if they wished.

She added: “The beauty of this design is that no part of this federation has more information than it needs to perform its function, and there is no central database."

Basuita and Uzkuraityte were speaking at the Civil Service Live event, hosted in London this week by the Cabinet Office and PublicTechnology's parent company Dods.

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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