One Login: Government will ‘review options’ for alternative means of proving identity, minister says

Written by Sam Trendall on 11 May 2023 in News

Alex Burghart reiterates commitment to offer options beyond passports and driving licences – potentially including the likes of disabled bus passes

Credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Ministers have reiterated a commitment that government’s incoming One Login system will enable users to prove their identity in a wider variety of ways, with plans to review alternatives beyond the existing options of passports and driving licences.

The sign-in platform has been created by the Government Digital Service and, throughout the development process, the technology unit has pledged that the system will be designed to reflect the needs of service users that may not possess the most commons forms of photo identification.

GDS chief executive Tom Read told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee in 2021 that such inclusiveness would be enabled by the use of agile development processes and close collaboration with departments. This contrasts with the construction of the One Login’s now-defunct predecessor GOV.UK Verify, for which “the technology approach and the overall design was baked in right at the beginning”, he said.

“There are people who… have a passport, a driving licence and a mobile phone,” the GDS boss added. “Then there are other users that do not have any of those things, and they have very messy, chaotic lives. And our agile iterative approach has proved that we need completely different solutions for those different types of users, and we are going to be iteratively building them and rolling them out, and we will be able to stop or change at any point on the way through.”

Almost two years on from these comments, One Login is now being used on a pilot basis by an initial tranche of services. This private beta version of the sign-in system allows users to prove their identity via the provision of a passport or driving licence.

But, according to Alex Burghart – the Cabinet Office minister responsible for supporting the work of GDS – officials will shortly begin evaluating and, ultimately, implementing new identity-checking methods. In answer to a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Alex Sobel about the possibility of supporting verification via the disabled person’s buss pass, the minister said that this will be among the possibilities that are considered.

Related content

“We recognise that not everyone has a passport or driving licence and therefore, over time, we will implement other ways for users to verify their identity when using GOV.UK One Login. This is to ensure as many people as possible can access the services they need online,” he added. “This will involve reviewing options to use the disabled person’s bus pass in due course.”

Burghart’s comments come shortly another minister – Baroness Joanna Penn from the Treasury – said that One Login’s ability to support new methods for users to prove their identity will help widen access to HM Revenue and Customs services. The tax agency’s online services are currently accessed via the 22-year-old Government Gateway sign-in platform, which began its decommission process seven years ago – but, after many government bodies chose not to adopt Verify, remains in use.

Penn said: “Accessibility and inclusivity are a priority for the programme and GDS have a plan of activity to improve inclusion over time. Examples include: a wider selection of data sources and options for a customer to use to prove their identity; offline channels available to those who cannot use the online offering. [The] intention to migrate to GOV.UK One Login as the cross-government strategic solution means that HMRC will limit any activity to increase accessibility within Government Gateway and the internal HMRC identity verification services. This is due to the limited remaining window to gain benefit from improvements to those services and the need to avoid duplication of effort.”

A three-year government digital and data strategy published last year set as one of its six core “missions” an objective for all departments to finalise a “roadmap” for implementing One Login by the end of the 2022/23 fiscal year, with a target for universal adoption by 2025. HMRC chief executive Jim Harra is the named senior sponsor of the mission.


About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on


Share this page




Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Consultation reveals widespread opposition to proposed data-sharing laws for government login system
26 May 2023

Overwhelming majority of respondents voice disapproval but government will press on with plans to bring forward legislation

Interview: CDDO chief Lee Devlin on the ‘move from being disruptive to collaborative’
23 May 2023

In the first of a series of exclusive interviews, the head of government’s ‘Digital HQ’ talks to PublicTechnology about the Central Digital and Data Office’s work to unlock £8bn...

HMRC finds strong support for online Child Benefit claims – but ‘digital by default’ would cause problems for one in five users
17 May 2023

Department publishes findings of study conducted ahead of planned digitisation initiative

HMRC launches £140m procurement to support comms digitisation
26 April 2023

Five-year contract will cover all incoming and outgoing messages and ambition to operate in ‘similar ways to leading private sector companies’

Related Sponsored Articles

Proactive defence: A new take on cyber security
16 May 2023

The traditional reactive approach to cybersecurity, which involves responding to attacks after they have occurred, is no longer sufficient. Murielle Gonzalez reports on a webinar looking at...