Data and securityCyber SecurityGDS clarifies private sector access to GOV.UK Verify

GDS clarifies private sector access to GOV.UK Verify

GDS signs new contracts with five private sector identity providers to support GOV.UK Verify over the next 18 months

Following the announcement that the government is to hand responsibility for the GOV.UK Verify identity assurance programme to the private sector, the Government Digital Service (GDS) has moved to clarify how it will work.

In a blog post, Kevin Cunnington stated: “We’ve signed new contracts with five private sector identity providers, who will support GOV.UK Verify over the next 18 months.

“GOV.UK Verify users can choose to use any one of these five certified companies to verify their identity online: Barclays, Digidentity, Experian, Post Office and SecureIdentity. People who have GOV.UK Verify accounts with other companies can still use their accounts for the next 12 months, while they set up accounts with the current certified companies.

“To keep Verify affordable for government, we’re using a tiered pricing system to reduce the price the government pays the providers over the 18-month period. As the number of users increases, the cost for government will go down. We are working to get to a position where GOV.UK Verify is cost-neutral for government and sustainable and self-supporting.

“And we’ve been working hard to ensure that the providers we are working with are, along with the rest of the private sector, empowered to develop commercial solutions that will benefit users and government.”

Identity assurance for the future

Cunnington continued on to say that the GDS wants GOV.UK Verify to be the foundation for identity platforms that can be used across the public and private sectors, so that the same digital identity platform that helps users check their state pension could in the future help them check their savings account too.

“This approach means the private sector will be empowered to develop affordable identity assurance services that will meet all of our future private and public-sector needs. It enables a long-term, sustainable solution,” he said. “It also means people can continue to use online services safely, securely and with the knowledge that a whole ecosystem of public and private partners are working to make their experience – and their lives – even easier.”

Cunnington added: “We are taking this approach because we know digital identity is an issue across the whole economy. In the UK alone, identity fraud costs the government between £1 billion and £4 billion a year. And it costs the UK economy between £5 billion and £14 billion.”

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