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Gov.uk digital identity app tender with $6.6M budget now open

Facial authentication likely included
Gov.uk digital identity app tender with $6.6M budget now open

The UK government is issuing a tender for a common digital identity check app for online access to services through Gov.uk, worth up to £4.8 million (US$6.6 million). The app appears likely to include a biometric authentication feature.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) will work with the technology supplier, which will also be expected to support government research into digital service delivery, and build up the government’s app development capability.

The app will be required to use NFC for ID document scanning, and the skills and experience requirements give biometrics as an example of “best of breed services” the contractor should be able to integrate. The work will be based on the strategy for 2021 to 2024 set out earlier this year by GDS.

GDS revealed its intention to build an single sign-on (SSO) solution earlier this year, suggesting it will learn from recent projects including its Gov.uk Verify, which used selfie biometrics.

Three quarters of Gov.uk traffic came from mobile in 2020, GDS says, so the app will be expected to run on both Android and iOS.

The contract is expected to cover two years from a start date at the beginning of 2022 or earlier, with a break clause after the first year. There are 14 applications in the works from potential suppliers, according to the Digital Marketplace listing, as of Friday afternoon.

Single sign-on alpha insights

Prototyping during its alpha development phase has allowed GDS to gather insights quickly, such as about the relationship between inclusion considerations that are identity-specific and those that are more general, the organization’s Product Manager Richard Walker writes in a blog post.

Other key insights relate to the importance of mobile apps for user convenience, variations in identity checks across risk tolerance, method and channel, how to make the process less confusing for users, according to Walker.

The project is now moving into a private beta phase.

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