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GOV.UK Verify

GOV.UK Verify: a look at 2015 in numbers

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As we approach the end of the year, like many people we’re reflecting and taking stock. We're working hard towards going from beta to live by April 2016 and planning the further development of GOV.UK Verify beyond that. There is a lot more work for us to do and we’ll be blogging more in the new year about what’s in store.

Today, I’d like to share some of the progress we’ve made this year, counting down from the number of times people have used GOV.UK Verify to access services (793,000, up from 1,413 this time last year) to the amount of time the service is disrupted while we are making changes (zero).

GOV.UK Verify has been used 793,000 times

People have used GOV.UK Verify 793,000 times to access a range of government services. On average, each GOV.UK Verify account has been used 1.5 times this year; we expect this to increase as more services adopt GOV.UK Verify next year.

333,000 identities verified

This time last year, GOV.UK Verify had verified 461 identities. Now our certified companies have verified 333,000 identities. All of these identities were verified entirely online (no need to wait for things in the post, or attend a counter service to verify your identity) and to a higher level of assurance than is possible through any other online service.

If you’re interested in following the growth of GOV.UK Verify, you can see our updated statistics each week on the GOV.UK Verify performance platform.

More than 24,000 different ways through GOV.UK Verify

At the start of this year, users could only use one way to provide identity evidence: entering the information manually. There was only one way to establish a link between the person and the identity they were asserting: answering questions based on credit reference agency data.

This year, GOV.UK Verify certified companies have introduced a range of new methods and data sources for people to prove their identity. For example, it’s now possible to scan your identity documents (rather than entering the details manually), so certified companies can check the document is genuine and compare your photograph to the one on the document.

In total, there are now more than 24,000 different combinations of 32 different data sources that can be used to verify an identity, depending on what evidence the individual chooses to provide and what methods they choose to use. This greatly increases the possibility that there will be a way for each individual person’s identity to be verified.

14,727 code commits

We made almost 15,000 different code commits this year - that’s 15,000 different changes to GOV.UK Verify to improve it for users and get it ready to go from beta to live in April next year.

Kit Carrau, product owner for the GOV.UK Verify hub, has recently started blogging about what the technical delivery team is working on.

14,082 support tickets resolved

We raise a ‘ticket’ each time anyone contacts us about the service, and resolve the ticket when we’ve either responded to feedback or fixed an issue. Hugh Quigley, user support manager, recently wrote about the support team and how we support our users through our support desk.

This year we resolved more than 14,000 tickets, including 12,000 requests for support and pieces of feedback from users. If you use the service, please do fill in the feedback form and tell us how it worked for you. All of the feedback we’ve received has helped us to continue developing and improving GOV.UK Verify throughout the year to make it as straightforward as possible for people to use.

11,000 HMRC Self Assessment users avoided a 10-day wait, by using GOV.UK Verify

In January we ran a trial of GOV.UK Verify as part of HMRC’s self assessment service, making it possible for people to use GOV.UK Verify to complete their self assessment return if they had lost their Government Gateway credentials. 11,000 people used GOV.UK Verify during the trial, meaning they didn’t have to wait for new Government Gateway credentials to arrive in the post.

More than 5,000 identity verifications per week in December 2015

We’ve gone from verifying 50 new identities per week this time last year, to more than 5,000 per week now. Our peak was in the summer when we verified 38,573 identities in a single week.

930 lines of code published

We made the first small step towards opening up our codebase this year when we published a small module of code. There is a lot more to come in 2016 - we’ll blog early in the new year to explain what we’re doing.

192 hours in the user research lab

We’re in the lab at least one day each fortnight, observing people using GOV.UK Verify. We’ve researched with a wide range of users of different services, to help us understand how we can continue to improve and iterate GOV.UK Verify to make it as straightforward as possible for people to use. (That’s just the GOV.UK Verify team - the certified companies have been developing their services based on research and feedback, too.)

Our research with users is followed up with analysis and compared and corroborated with our findings from user feedback and analytics. We use all of this evidence to help us make decisions about what to retain, what to change and what to remove completely from GOV.UK Verify.

150+ industry delegates went to the Economics of Identity II event

Earlier this month the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) hosted the second Economics of Identity event. Representatives from industry, Cabinet Office, OIX, researchers and other governments all came together to share insights and plans to grow the new identity services economy in the UK and globally. Events like this are a really valuable way for us to learn from our industry, academic and other specialist colleagues working in the growing market for identity assurance.

99.9% service availability

This year we’ve gone from the GOV.UK Verify service being available 99.3% of the time (from January to March) to 99.9% of the time (from October to December). This improvement is mainly because of changes and improvements we’ve made to the way the service works and our ability to detect and respond quickly to issues.

83 gates passed by companies

Certified companies have to complete a series of gates before they can provide services under the new contracts we signed earlier this year. This includes the existing companies that are transitioning on to new contractual terms, and the new companies that will be joining the service.

There are 16 gates for each company to complete, and so far we’ve completed 83 of them. At each gate we assess a different aspect of the company’s solution to make sure it meets the requirements set out in the contract. These cover the quality of the user experience, the technology, the identity proofing and verification process, and service operations.  We’re looking forward to welcoming the new companies on board next year.

80% demographic coverage

At the start of this year, we estimated that GOV.UK Verify could cover around 65% of the UK adult population. Now, it can cover about 80% of UK adults because of the introduction of new methods and data sources. By April next year, GOV.UK Verify will work for 90% of the UK adult population, and there will be further increases soon after that as the certified companies continue to introduce more ways for people to verify their identity allowing more people to use the service.

70% success rate in December 2015 (up from 47% in January 2015)

The success rate is a measure of how many attempts to verify an identity are successful, once a person has chosen a certified company and set up their account. This is a measure of how well Verify is performing when people try to use it. The success rate will increase to 90% by April 2016, as set out in our objectives for going from beta to live.

14 services connected (up from 2 in January 2015)

There are 14 services now connected to GOV.UK Verify, and 9 of these are now available for anyone to use in public beta.

We post regular updates here on the services using and planning to use GOV.UK Verify, and we maintain an up-to-date list at

9 meetings of our Privacy and Consumer Advisory Group

Our Privacy and Consumer Advisory Group helps us make sure we put users in control of their information and protect their privacy and security. We meet the group monthly, and do a range of work with members of the group in between meetings, to help develop, inform and challenge our work to protect users’ privacy.

9 new contracts with certified companies

In January, there were 2 companies offering services as part of GOV.UK Verify. We now have 4 (Digidentity, Experian, Post Office and Verizon).

In March, we signed new contracts with 9 companies, including the existing 4. We developed the new framework from scratch with a range of new provisions and changes reflecting everything we had learned up to that point. For example, we embedded the identity assurance principles into the contracts so that companies have to explain to users what they are doing to meet the principles as part of their terms and conditions.

We’re working with all the companies to help them get ready to join GOV.UK Verify or, in the case of companies already on board, to move on to their new contractual terms.

1 new set of rules for 28 EU member states

The European Union has agreed a new regulation for identity assurance that will enable people to use digital identities across the whole of Europe, regardless of which country’s system verified their identity. Robin Walker and Luke Reynolds have blogged recently about the new rules and how they will work.

Zero downtime deployment

We introduced zero downtime deployment so that we can make changes to GOV.UK Verify without interrupting the service for users.

Thank you

I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to or read our blog this year, particularly those who have taken the time to write guest posts, ask questions and post comments and everyone else who has been in touch during the year to offer feedback, support and challenge.

We’re really grateful for everything we’ve learned throughout the year, and we can’t wait to make more progress next year!

Stay up-to-date throughout 2016 by subscribing to the blog.

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