The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued a contract notice for a £200m framework agreement to provide identity assurance services for 21 million people on benefits.
The government’s identity assurance (IDA) plans are intended to provide citizens with a choice of providers to verify who they are to access public services online.
The framework will last for four years, with the option of a two-year extension if the work on the department’s flagship Universal Credit system is delayed, it said.
As the DWP customer base is diverse, a wide range of business types will be required for the framework to ensure demographic coverage and that no claimant sector is unfairly disadvantaged by limiting supplier choice, said the government in a contract notice.
To support the roll-out of universal credit and personal independence payments, providers will be selected by June 2012 and systems will need to be fully operational from March 2013, it said.
Steve Dover, corporate director of major programmes at the DWP, said: “We trialed a demo a couple of weeks ago – it is effective. Once the customer is authenticated, it puts them on a voice print. It's not possible to just put on a different voice, Rory Bremner can't crack this thing.”