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11 areas will trial digital identity scheme for residential property sector

MyIdentity scheme will allow estate agents, conveyancers, solicitors and mortgage providers across 11 locations to trial the use of digital identity to speed up and make home buying more secure

A digital identity scheme for the residential property market is to be trialled in 11 locations.

The MyIdentity scheme will allow buyers and sellers to prove their identity once, instead of having to do so multiple times.

This information can then be shared with other parties, such as estate agents, mortgage providers, solicitors and conveyancers, within the digital identity trust scheme framework.

The digital identity scheme, created by technology supplier Etive following a grant from Innovate UK, will be trialled in London in Battersea, Chiswick, Clapham, Putney, Wimbledon, Richmond and Kew. It will also be piloted in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Harrogate and York, and the scheme will be up and running in October 2021, with trials expected to last until August 2022.

The property sector has already embraced digital identity verification, and it is formally recognised in the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher said it was good to see progress being made in rolling out the scheme. “We know that buyers and sellers are confused and frustrated by the current process, where they have their identity checked multiple times,” he said. “A single check which can be relied upon by multiple parties will help us to deliver a modernised and better home-buying experience.”

Although this scheme is being created for the housing market, the project is in line with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s plans to create a trust framework with standards for digital identity that will guide the identity market.

Earlier this month, the government published the second iteration of its digital identity and attributes trust framework, setting out how digital identity providers can become certified, making it easier for people to use digital identity services.

Organisations wanting to be certified can take part in the trust framework in several ways, by themselves as a single organisation, by setting up a scheme for multiple organisations, or by joining an existing scheme set up by another organisation.

“A scheme is made up of different organisations which agree to follow a specific set of rules around the use of digital identities and attributes,” said the framework document. “These organisations might work in the same sector, industry or region, which means they will build products and services for similar types of users.”

The MyIdentity scheme falls into this category, following a set of government-backed standards that everyone using it will have to follow.

All identity providers also have to use the guidance set out on how to provide and verify someone’s identity. The government wants the approach to be flexible, allowing organisations to continue to develop and iterate new services to meet user needs.

Read more about digital identity

  • The government has published the second iteration of its digital identity and attributes trust framework, setting out how digital identity providers can become certified.
  • DCMS meets with suppliers to discuss plans for a trust framework to show ‘what good looks like’ as it ploughs ahead with digital identity plans.
  • Draft digital identity framework published by the UK government highlights the importance of learning from the private sector and existing standards to accelerate deployment and citizen adoption.

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