The Government Digital Service (GDS) said it will soon add five identity authentication providers to its Gov.uk Verify identity and access management service.
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This will mean users will be able to choose their preferred option of nine suppliers when verifying their identity with the service.
“Hardworking people expect to be able to access public services at their convenience so, as part of our long-term economic plan, we are moving a first wave of 25 'exemplar' services online,” said minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.
“We are making it easier for everyone to prove their identity online without building a single database or re-introducing an illiberal ID card scheme. Our online verification scheme empowers citizens to select the provider they want to manage and prove their identity."
The five providers the GDS added to the verification service include Barclays bank, PayPal and Royal Mail. They join existing authentication services Experian, Verizon, Digidentity and the Post Office.
Read more about Gov.uk Verify
Access to digital government services
By increasing the pool of suppliers users can choose from, GDS hopes to expand coverage of the service and improve quality when using applications requiring Verify.
Royal Mail claimed the Gov.uk Verify service was a natural extension of its existing ID services, which include Postcode Address File and its redirection service.
The GDS launched the Gov.uk Verify service in 2014 as part of the GDS’s digital transformation of government services, to enable the public to access government services digitally and from one online location.
This improves the safety of online digital transactions with government, as the user’s personal data is not centrally stored and the identity provider cannot share to third parties without the user's consent.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was the first to implement the scheme, to allow farmers to submit farm information and claim subsidies.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) followed with a trial of the service to help the public complete their online self-assessment tax returns.
Towards the end of 2014, the government predicted the service would be used by almost half a million people by April 2015 for services such as Universal Credit claims and updating driving license details for the DVLA.