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Royal Mail becomes eighth accredited Gov.uk Verify provider

The Royal Mail is the latest provider to be accredited to support the government’s Gov.uk Verify identity assurance service

Royal Mail has finished its work to become a Gov.uk Verify accredited ID provider, becoming the eighth to do so.

There are now eight official ID providers following CitizenSafe, Barclays and Morpho all being accredited in recent weeks, joining the Post Office, Experian, Digidentity and Verizon.

Verify is run by the Government Digital Service (GDS). It is intended to be the standard way for people accessing online government services to prove who they are and to log in to complete transactions.

Currently, there are 13 government services from five departments connected to Verify, with nine public beta services available, such as applying for Universal Credit and claiming a tax refund. GDS aims for 15 services to be ready to use Verify by the time it switches from beta to live in April 2016.

Accredited ID providers, such as the Royal Mail, will use a set of checks to confirm the identity of the person using the service. This will be done by using information such as name, address and date of birth, as well as referencing credit check databases or the government’s passport system.

Once registered, users can access government services online by using the log-in supplied by the identity provider, potentially involving further checks such as sending a unique code to a mobile phone.

Read more about Verify

Jim Conning, managing director of Royal Mail data services, said the company has a long track record of supporting customers with “data-driven services”.

“The Royal Mail’s certified identity service is part of our strategy to innovate and introduce platforms where we can grow, while maintaining our lead position in the letters and parcels markets,” he said.

Barclays, CitizenSafe and Morpho were accredited at the beginning of March 2016. The latest accreditation means PayPal is the only one of the nine authentication services chosen by GDS not to have gained official accreditation. In July l2015, the government said it expected three million new users of Verify by July 2016.

Read more on IT for government and public sector

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How many current users are there? It is not apparent from the performance dashboard. Will it be capable of recognising married women who work under their maiden name before it goes live? Will it be capable of identifying those with neither bank accounts, passports nor driving licenses before it goes "live"?
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