Only three services remain on GOV.UK Verify as closure nears

Written by Sam Trendall on 10 January 2023 in News
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Latest update reveals that the vast majority of government users have now migrated from soon-to-close authentication tool

Credit: Crown Copyright/Open Government Licence v3.0

Only three public-sector services continue to use GOV.UK Verify, as the authentication tool enters its last three months in existence.

At the start of 2022, 17 services still used Verify during sign-up or login processes. This included a selection of online tax services from HM Revenue and Customs, and tools from the Department for Work and Pensions for checking state pensions and claiming Universal Credit. 

The two departments ended their use of Verify from April 2022, since when they have relied on their own identity authentication tools.  

Over the course of the second half of last year four services from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency have also migrated away from the GOV.UK platform, as did the digital service for requesting a basic background check from the Disclosure and Barring Service, and the online process through which people apply to become social workers.

Updated guidance published just before Christmas by the Government Digital Service – the unit which developed Verify – revealed that, ahead of the authentication tool’s planned closure at the end of March, just three public-sector users remain.

Among these is HM Land Registry's digital service for signing a mortgage deed, and the online account citizens can use to manage their claim with the Rural Payments Agency. NHS employees accessing online pension statements from the NHS Business Services Authority may also still be required to use Verify.

All three of these services will move to another form of identity-verification at some point before the end of March.


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Under the heading ‘GOV.UK Verify is closing’, the latest update from GDS advised citizens that “you can no longer create a new GOV.UK Verify account [and] you also cannot re-register if you have lost access to your existing account”.

“By April 2023, you will not be able to use an existing GOV.UK Verify account to access any services,” it added. “The service you need to use may stop using GOV.UK Verify before April. It will tell you when this will happen and how you can access it instead.”

Public funding for Verify was originally slated to end in March 2020, at which point responsibility for its development and support was due to be taken over by the commercial partners that provided identity services. But the majority of these partners opted to sever their ties with the government-developed platform – just as it was required to support the huge surge in applications for Universal Credit that was prompted early weeks of the coronavirus crisis. 

Verify has continued to be supported by government money, with about £11m spent on maintaining the service during the 2021/22 year.

Alongside which, since summer 2020 GDS has worked on developing the One Login system that is intended to replace not only Verify – but all other sign-in systems currently in use across government. This includes about 190 separate online accounts, incorporating 44 different login methods.

The first five services have begun using One Login on a trial basis and, by the end of March, departments are required to create a “roadmap” for adopting the new system, with a target of achieving comprehensive uptake by 2025.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on sam.trendall@publictechnology.net.

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