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UK government runs new digital ID system pilot for public services

Set to potentially replace Gov.uk Verify
UK government runs new digital ID system pilot for public services

The UK Government Digital Service (GDS) team is running a ‘discreet pilot’ of a new digital identity system designed as a successor to Gov.uk Verify, UKAuthority reports.

The announcement was made by Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez MP last week during her speech to The Investing and Savings Alliance (TISA) conference participants.

The news comes in the context of plans by the UK government to discontinue the Verify digital ID service later this year. The service was reportedly scheduled for an earlier termination but was kept active to facilitate universal credit enrollment during the pandemic, helped in part by Mitek biometrics.

Private sector digital ID providers have been frustrated with the government’s uncertain direction for Gov.uk Verify, according to recent reports.

The new pilot will now set proof of concept for the replacement of the current governmental identity verification platform.

“This will be led and coordinated by GDS, co-designed with Whitehall departments and public services, and be largely government built and government-owned,” Lopez explained.

The digital ID platform will initially connect to a limited number of services, but its compatibility will be extended “once the scheme is judged to be on track.”

Speaking at the TISA conference, Lopez addressed the issues related to the Verify platform, with an emphasis on its low adoption rates from both public sector bodies and the general public.

“While the best elements of Verify will be reused where appropriate, all parties are keen to move on from Verify’s over-elaborate expectations trajectory and cost,” the MP explained. “Good progress on our pilot is expected in coming months, with joint discovery work due to accelerating further.”

During the event, Lopez also discussed the government plans related to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) trust framework for digital identities, and what that will mean for the public.

Moving forward, Lopez said that the GDS will continue to develop the pilot program, with particular attention to the personalization of its services.

“Based on the information users are happy to provide about their circumstances,” the MP said, “we can offer them a more tailored service with easier and quicker access to relevant information.”

Lopez then concluded her speech mentioning how the new pilot fits into the GDS’ ‘one log-in for government’ plan, and highlighting the Cabinet Office’s aspirations for the government to get better at sharing and analyzing information across departments.

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