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Scotland's Improvement Service signs up to pilot digital identity platform

The Improvement Service will pilot the Yoti digital identity platform, test the use of blockchain applications and take a cloud first approach with its myaccount citizen portal

Scotland is planning to upgrade its myaccount digital services portal, which lets citizens securely sign in to use public services across 24 local councils.  

The Scottish Improvement Service, which runs the myaccount portal on behalf of Scottish Government has signed contracts with several technology providers to help develop the platform.  

This includes partnering with Yoti, a digital identity platform, which it will roll out to citizens during a pathfinder pilot. The smartphone app allows citizens to prove their age and entitlement online and in person, both in relation to public services, but also as proof of ID on a night out or when buying age-restricted products.

Signing up to the app, citizens simply take a selfie and add an ID document with their smartphone, which is then transformed into a digital identity.

Sarah Gadsden, the Improvement Service’s interim CEO, said she anticipated that smartphone ownership will continue to grow. “As technology evolves and mobile usage increases, we’re committed to maximise the use of secure mobile and digital technology to deliver information and services to citizen,” she added.

Scotland is also due to launch a six-to-nine-months alpha phase of its online identity assurance programme in September. The aim of the alpha phase is to create a prototype of an identity assurance platform, which can then be tested with users. 

In its May meeting, Scotland’s online identity assurance programme board said although the myaccount service already has a large potential number of users, it has low levels of assurance, because it wasn’t created to be a digital identity service.

As well as myaccount, the Improvement Services runs a series of public digital services across Scotland such as the Parents Portal and the Data Hub.

The Improvement Service has also signed a contract with Edinburgh-based Wallet.Services to look at potential opportunities and applications for blockchain technology in delivering public services. 

“In line with our latest business plan commitments, we continue to look for practical and creative approaches to supporting councils and partners through challenging times and help people manage their relationship with government. We see significant potential and benefits from innovating using emerging technologies such as blockchain,” Gadsden said.

The Improvement Service is also going for a cloud-first approach, signing a contract with cloud solutions company Brightsolid to migrate its services onto the cloud.

Tata Consultancy Services also won a contract with the Improvement Service and will act as its technology partner for the organisation’s core applications and services.  

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