Defra first department to implement Verify

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs first to utilise government’s new identity assurance system

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) is the first department to utilise the government’s new identity assurance system. Verify has been incorporated into the rural support (Common Agricultural Policy – CAP) online service, which allows farmers to submit information about how land is used to claim subsidies under CAP. Verify will now replace the Government Gateway for the new CAP information service. Verify is a system for proving users' identities when using public services online and the rural support service is the first to implement the assurance system. 

Rural support for the service is one of the 25 exemplars being transformed by the Government Digital Service (GDS) into a digital service, and is currently in beta testing.

A Defra blog post explains that individuals will be able to choose who they would like to verify them from a list of certified companies.

“Working with certified companies means your information and transactions with government are safer, simpler and faster than any other method,” said the post.

The company will then ask the individual questions to confirm their identity.

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“Once you’ve verified your identity, it’s fast and simple to use the same company every time you need to access a government service online.”

The Gov.UK Verify system was announced at the beginning of September as the public-facing name for the Identity Assurance Programme (IDAP), which GDS had been working on for the past three years. GDS's Verify system will make it possible for citizens to prove who they are online to safely and securely access digital public services.

Verify will use a number of third parties to check users’ identities and allow citizens to securely use government services. It will work in the same way Facebook and Twitter usernames and passwords can be used to log into other websites.

The system has been in a private beta test since February for invited individuals only, but GDS announced last week that Verify was ready for its first public test.

Writing in a blog post at the time, Janet Hughes, the head of policy and engagement for Verify, said the public beta is a significant step forward.

“As we continue to develop and scale up, more services will start to use Verify when they need to be sure they are dealing with the correct user – we’ll announce details of these services in the coming weeks. This will also allow users to re-use their Verify credentials to access the increasing range of services,” she said.

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