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A year on: UK Gov shares One Login digital identification program progress

A year on: UK Gov shares One Login digital identification program progress

A year after launching its program to develop One Login, a way to digitally identify oneself across government sites and services, the UK Government is now sharing thoughts about its progress and future plans.

Writing in a blog post, Natalie Jones, director of digital identity at Government Digital Service (GDS), argues that One Login has evolved substantially since she joined the program in September.

“We’ve got products in beta, a packed dance card for services who want to work with us, and we are well on our way to building up the product suite that our government partners have asked for,” Jones says.

More specifically, the GDS executive says the team already has an initial version of a browser-based process (with a passport check and knowledge-based verification) in limited beta with their partner Disclosure and Barring Service.

Further, Jones adds the team has created an identity-checking app for people with driving licenses in beta with HMRC for Government Gateway users and has “credible” plans for passports and Biometric Residence Permits to be added in the near future.

GDS is also working on a set of inclusiveness-focused features, such as digital vouching, a face-to-face route, and novel knowledge-based verification question sets that rely on government data.

“We’re most definitely underway in terms of delivery,” Jones says. “We’re building the things that departments have told us they need, and we’re standing on the shoulders of all the great work and research that’s already been done across government, so we’re not starting from scratch.”

At the same time, Jones admits that working with departments to migrate their services in a way that works for them and their users has been challenging. For context, the complexity of coordinating these different verification services was one of the causes behind the retirement of Verify, the UK’s former online tool for identity verification.

“The legacy and diversity of identification methods across government mean that there’s quite a lot of analysis work to be done to map existing processes to the Good Practice Guide (GPG) framework and understand the relative levels of assurance they need,” she explains.

Despite these differences, however, Jones’s team noticed that the percentage of eligible users who make it through different identity verification routes successfully requires attention across departments.

“So, we’ve made big steps forward in terms of building the things that departments have asked for, and this will remain our core focus for the next six months at least,” the digital identity official says.

“However, in parallel, we’re starting to work through the complexities of user migration, how our account functionality needs to work, and how we can start to reuse identities verified in one place to access services in another.”

Finally, Jones adds that GDS is also thinking about how it can start to influence people’s behavior when they use GOV.UK, the government service and information portal.

“Being ‘logged in’ [should become] a default behavior, because it ‘unlocks’ other things and improves user experience.”

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