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The Government Digital Service’s (GDS) One Login for Government programme is making headway, particularly with its mobile-first agenda as its ID-checking apps reach more than two million downloads.
In a blog post providing an update on the government’s digital ID programme, GDS director of digital identity Natalie Jones said the three-year, £400m project to create a digital identity system – to be mandated for use across government departments – is rapidly increasing its user base.
“Our numbers have swelled in every area. We have three times the number of teams working in parallel on features and incremental improvements to existing functionality,” she said. “We’re making over 500 separate releases a month to production through our automated pipeline.”
There are now eight government services using One Login, including those early adopters such as the Disclosure and Barring Service, as well as an identity-checking app for users of HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Government Gateway who hold a driving licence.
However, several other services have also onboarded, including Social Work England’s register to be a social worker service, HM Land Registry’s mortgage deed signing service, the Modern Slavery Unit’s modern slavery statement registry and Ofqual’s advisor application service.
“We have driving licence and passport-based routes for users, with both forms of ID able to be used with our identity-checking app or via a web journey,” said Jones.
She added that GDS’s identity check apps have been downloaded more than two million times and it has issued over 1.5 million verified identities since its launch last summer.
Jones said more than 815,000 individuals now have One Login accounts that can be accessed “using authenticator apps as one of their factors”, and GDS is accepting overseas phone numbers for one-time passwords.
“That’s pretty impressive, but we haven’t stopped there. We’re really focused on broadening the reach of our service to users who don’t have a driving licence or passport, as well as those with low digital skills,” she said.
Adding that work is ongoing to allow users to verify their identity face-to-face in a way that conforms with the government’s Good Practice Guide (GPG) 45 on how to check someone’s identity.
“This is why we’re going to open a face-to-face route for identity verification in the summer, which will allow users with additional forms of identification to prove their identities to a medium GPG 45 profile and give us our first asynchronous journey,” said Jones.
The GPG on identity has four different levels of confidence rating: low, medium, high and very high. A medium confidence is classed as “lowering the risk of you accepting impostors who have information about the claimed identity that’s not in the public domain”.
One Login builds on Gov.uk Accounts, a single sign-on system that was billed as a way to deliver more personalised services for users of the Gov.uk website.
One of the key issues with One Login’s troubled predecessor, Gov.uk Verify, was that less than half of those who tried to set up a digital identity were able to do so.
Jones said the One Login team has been focused on increasing user success rates “from the Gov.uk Verify baseline since we first went into beta last summer”.
“Our user-level data shows that for our most popular service, we’re achieving an identity verification rate of 62%, which is a huge achievement for a platform that didn’t exist 12 months ago,” she said. “This is over 10% higher than the target rates agreed with the service before it onboarded.”
The One Login system will be mandated for use by all government departments, and Jones said that over the next 18 months, GDS will be onboarding the “vast bulk of government services”.
While the government is mandating use of the system, it will be able to coexist with other services, such as HMRC’s Government Gateway service, which, after NHS login, is the second most used digital identity service in government, with around 16 million registered accounts.
Read more about government and digital identity
- Pilot of Scotland’s digital identity platform will be run in partnership with Disclosure Scotland, using secure sign-on and identity verification.
- The majority of respondents to the government’s consultation on data sharing for digital identity are critical to the plans and concerned about data privacy.
- GDS has opened up about the reasons why it’s opted for a serverless infrastructure to underpin One Login, and how it hopes the system will provide UK citizens with a more personalised experience.