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GOV.UK Verify

Identity assurance and the private sector - a discovery project

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Industry and market engagement

GOV.UK Verify works to published standards for identity assurance. These standards were designed to be usable in the wider public and private sectors as well as for central government services.

In our objectives for this year, we’ve made clear that we’re concentrating for now on developing GOV.UK Verify and implementing it for central government services. But for as long as we’ve been working on GOV.UK Verify, there’s always been interest in how the wider market will develop and what relationship government and private sector services should have within that market.

Last June, the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) held an event on the economics of identity which was attended by representatives from a range of sectors including banks, mobile network operators and the retail sector. OIX is involved in a range of projects where public and private sector organisations work together to explore and understand different aspects of the market as it develops. More information about this work is available over on OIX UK’s website.

Now that we’re some way into our public beta and starting to see increasing volumes of users, the level of interest in these issues is increasing. For example, banks and pension providers are interested in how they might use digital identity assurance such as that provided by GOV.UK Verify to meet their regulatory requirements to identify their customers.

We’ve agreed with OIX that it would be useful to have a structured and open conversation about this, so we can jointly map out the needs for identity assurance across different sectors and understand more fully how these relate to the published government standards for identity assurance.

This will help us develop a shared understanding of the needs for identity assurance, and how we can best work with our private sector colleagues as the market develops to meet those needs. Nothing is decided or presumed in this work at this stage - we’re approaching the issue with an open mind to help inform our thinking and future plans on this important set of issues.

At the moment we’re doing early planning work for this project - we’ll be working with OIX, private sector organisations and our Privacy and Consumer Advisory Group to define the scope of the discovery exercise and work out how to make it as useful as possible. We expect the work to take place over the summer, and to complete the work later this year. We’ll be blogging about progress as we go along.

If you’d like to take part in this piece of work, please email OIX.

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  1. Comment by MarkK posted on

    The policy swing back to provision for all sectors is most welcome, but there are existing and well-established processes for all stakeholders to collaborate in the development and the maintenance of national standards through the BSi.Is that not a more appropriate forum, into which OIX and otehrs could feed?

    • Replies to MarkK>

      Comment by Janet Hughes posted on

      Hi Mark,
      We've always been working towards this point, that's why we're part of the Open Identity Exchange and take part in events like the Economics of Identity, last year, where we talked about some of these issues. We do work with standards organisations, national and international, on issues to do with interoperability of national systems and their application in the wider public and private sectors. But we think this piece of work is likely to be wider than that, encompassing commercial and operational issues as well as standards issues. We're very open to having more conversations with more people and organisations about this though, and would encourage anyone who is interested to get involved in the discovery project.