Jerry Fishenden

Post Office to provide in-person identity checks for One Login

Partnership between the Government Digital Service and the Post Office will see postmasters and staff provide face-to-face identity checks for those unable to use the One Login app or website

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has signed a partnership deal with the Post Office for One Login in-person identity checks.

The face-to-face service, which will be run by postmasters and other Post Office staff, means those who cannot use the One Login app or website to verify their identity will be able to do so at their local Post Office branch.

The government’s new digital identity system has been heavily focused on its mobile-first agenda, with its ID check apps having been downloaded more than two million times.

However, in a blogpost, One Login deputy directors Rachel Tsang and John Holben said making the digital identity system accessible for everyone is key.

“We’ve designed this route specifically for users without smartphones, or those who have a low level of confidence in using a digital platform to input their document details,” they said in the blogpost.

“Offering an in-person service allows for a wider range of people to access vital public services online. Once having proved their identity, people will, in the future, be able to reuse this to access services across government.”

The face-to-face option does still entail some digital elements. The in-person service currently in private beta will allow users to provide basic details to create a One Login account online. They can pick any Post Office branch to visit, where they have to take along a photo ID document which will be scanned by the postmaster, before having a photograph taken.

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The Post Office’s document checking partner, digital identity supplier Yoti, will then process the document and users will be notified of the outcome via email.

“We’re aware this process does begin and end online, which may not work for everyone,” the deputy directors said.

“However, for those who lack confidence or don’t have a smartphone, this in-person option may offer all the help they need to prove their identity with One Login.”

As of June 2023, there are 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.

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.

The One Login system will be mandated for use by all government departments. Over the next 18 months, GDS will be onboarding the majority of government services.

However, 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.

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