Category : News

OIX says Verify has role in local government

The Open Identity Exchange (OIX) has said there could still be a role for the GOV.UK Verify service in local government.
It has made the claim in a report based on an alpha project demonstrating how data collected by local authorities for identity providers could help customers without a digital footprint to register for the identity assurance service.
This comes after a surge of speculation that the programme is running out of steam after the Government handed over responsibility for increasing use of the platform to the private sector identity providers.
OIX is a non-profit organisation focused on digital identities and trusted online transactions of which the Cabinet Office, which has run the Verify programme, is a member.
‘Thin file’ problem
Its paper on the alpha project points to the problem of ‘thin file’ customers, who do not have the digital footprint from commercial transactions, being unable to register for the service. It points to recent problem of people being unable to use it in claiming universal credit, which has prompted the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to warn it will increase its costs in manual identity checks.
The OIX project addressed the information governance, business and industry consultation required for local authorities to collect and manage the relevant data for identity proofing and registration.
OIX says it has shown that local authorities could find substantial value in implementing Verfiy and an associated attribute exchange ecosystem. Savings for a metropolitan council with 275,000 residents are estimated at £4.4 million in identity assurance, £2.5 million in eligibility checking and £9.8 million in service delivery.
It also modelled a workable technical solution for making local data available to the identity providers. This involves using a Digital Log Book to connect local authority and housing association services to the Verify hub, which at the other end connects to the identity providers.
“We conclude that LA data provides a valuable and practical solution to making GOV.UK Verify available to the widest range of potential customers, and that a beta project should be set up to demonstrate this in practice,” the paper says.
Need for infrastructure
It goes on to recommend that the beta project should involve implementing a live technical infrastructure, demonstrating how councils’ data could help people register for a Verify account, showing the viability of self-certification of local data sources, and carrying out user experience research. It also calls for work with the DWP to show how all this could help the universal credit application process.
Just before Christmas, the Government Digital Service blogged some details of its plans to encourage the wider take-up of the service, including providing more clarity around digital identity standards and an increase in the types of identity evidence that can be used.
In addition, the Cabinet Office updated its overview in mid-December, listing 16 central government services for which it could be used, and naming the Post Office, Barclays, Digidentity, Experian and SecureIdentity as identity providers. Royal Mail and CitizenSafe can also provide identity services but not create new accounts.
This article was first published on the UKAuthority website by Mark Say, Managing Editor.

Completed Alpha Verify project – Tower Hamlets & Hackney for digital & financial inclusion

We are delighted to have completed the Alpha phase of a project working with the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney in which GOV.UK Verify was used for local authority multi-service portals.
The Open Identity Exchange (OIX)/Government Digital Service (GDS) project set out to demonstrate how the use of data collected by local authorities can be used to help ‘thin-file customers’.
These are defined as the most vulnerable people in society who are in the greatest need of support to register for a Verify identity enabling them to access public services as quickly and efficiently as possible.
In the announcement, which came out ahead of the Think Digital Identity for Government conference taking place tomorrow, Etive explained, “Without a digital identity we make it hard for those socially, financially and economically excluded people to participate in modern economic, political and social systems.
“Our work through the Alpha project was to identify ways in which to help solve this problem for exposed people, using a common legal standard of identity through Verify.”
The Alpha project, which builds on a previous OIX Discovery project, demonstrates how the use of data collected by local authorities can help thin-file customers register for a GOV.UK Verify identity.
Etive said the project has demonstrated that local authorities collect and manage data that would have high value in the GOV.UK Verify identity proofing and verification process. This would help vulnerable people who are trying to access Universal Credits more quickly, for example, as well as other high value services such as housing.
The business case set out to demonstrate that local authorities could derive substantial value from implementing GOV.UK Verify.
Etive said, “We have modelled a workable technical solution to making local data available to GOV.UK Verify identity providers and started the process of designing a user interface that can successfully weave together local authority transactions with a streamlined GOV.UK Verify registration process.
“We are currently working on the next steps taking the outcomes from these two projects to work with real live people, services and data, through a Beta project and a wider range of local authorities.”
Organisations involved in the project include OIX, GDS, the Post Office, Mvine, Idemia, GBGroup and the Greater London Authority specifically on the business cases for London.
The executive summary of a white paper published on the project said, “We demonstrate that local authorities have sufficiently robust information governance processes in place to be able to provide quality data to identity providers (IDPs) for identity proofing and verification under the Verify scheme, and that this data would be sufficient to help the majority of thin-file customers achieve a Verify account at level of assurance 2 (LOA2).
“We show that there is a strong business case for local authorities to adopt GOV.UK Verify and that there is also a business case for IDPs to use local authority data in the identity proofing and verification process.”
This article first appeared on the Government Technology website written by David Bicknell.

For more project infomation and white papers please go to Digital Log Book.

Verify & Digital Identity Roundtable Rochdale

In November we held a Verify / digital identity roundtable discussion for local authorities based in the northwest, hosted at Rochdale Town Hall.  The event was facilitated by iNetwork, so our thanks to them for putting this together.

Looking at what the attendees wanted, a number of common themes emerged, which included:

  • How would a LA get their customers using verify,
  • Using Verify for Single sign-on for accessing services, making it easier for the customer,
  • How Verify can make service improvements,
  • How Verify can improve engagement with citizens,
  • Using Verify to access multiple services through single account,
  • How does Verify work with existing CRM and My Account services,
  • How can Verify extend access to residents not engaged,
  • How can Verify and identity integrate with existing systems.

In the round table discussions, where each table had to tackle one issue, again we noticed common challenges between LAs and what they are trying to achieve.

Tackling service costs, taxi licensing and even helping people to register for voting were seen as key service areas.  Saw that using Verify to target services at citizens is a positive way forward, Universal Credit being a good example.

Looking at the benefits of a federated identity, helping vulnerable people came out strongly, driving out further efficiencies, reducing delays and waiting times for customers and removing a silo approach within local authorities.

Finally, the benefits of a personal data store were clear. A citizen who can control and share their own information would save staff time and costs, and customers always doing the same thing.  Other operational cost savings could be made around document storage and management but a federated identity would resonate with place based working, whilst putting the customer in control of their own information, ensuring GDPR compliance.

Click here for a copy of the slides.

Government Digital Identity Conference May 18 London

GDS & Verify
In May there was a major Government identity conference highlighting the need for Gov.UK/Verify, the only legal standard of identity in the UK.

Speakers came from many different organisations discussing the challenges of identity and Verify. Nic Harrison, Director, Service Design and Assurance at the GDS, highlighted that Verify is on a respectable growth trajectory when compared to similar schemes in places like Canada and Scandinavia. “It takes many national ID systems up to five to six years to get a 50% adoption” he said.

“The fact that Verify is used by 8 Government Departments for 17 services and has six million transactions in government already – and will play a big part in the rollout of Universal Credit – means it has a very solid future,” he added.
Read more – Conference Details and Government Computing

Helping the ‘hard to reach’ with a digital identity
One of the panel discussions was around how to help the highest users of public services who lack a digital file gain a legal standard of identity. Could federated ID schemes be the only realistic way that so-called ‘thin file’ customers?

That is certainly the position of a number of practitioners, including Ian Litton, (Positive Attributes) former local government IT leader, who told delegates at the Think Digital Identity for Government that his experiences working with Digital Identity had left him with a belief that, “When it comes to helping thin file users, federated really does seem ideal – and on that basis, while I do agree it does need to change and it does need to develop, I would see GOV.UK Verify as the only game in town in terms of delivering it.”

Ian was speaking during a special panel discussion on the potential for Identity services in the UK public sector outside of central government, which so far has proven to be the primary adopter of the Verify ID assurance scheme.

“Federated Identity is a huge opportunity for cost savings in local government, and most of all for the thin file user,” said Stuart Young of Etive. Proving eligibility, streamlining processes and cutting fraud could all happen a lot easier for this class of user, argued Young, claiming 53% of fraud is identity-related.

Read more – Computer Weekly

NHS patients will use technology
So says Adam Lewis, Director, Citizen Identity & Personal Health Records at NHS Digital.

Adam also spoke at the Think Digital Identity for Government, where he spoke on how Identity is faring in the NHS context. Adam began by reminding delegates that the concept of an ‘Empowered Person’ is central to the Five Year Forward View plan for NHS renewal – a way for patients to quickly find people to help them.

And while the vast majority of users prefer face-to-face interactions to do this, “The problem is it’s expensive to work this way, and capacity is an issue.”

Clearly, digital needs to be there to help address these gaps, but the NHS knows that users will only do things like video consultations if they see it as a “desirable alternative” to going to their GP or A&E.

Read more Conference Details

Final LA consultation into Verify and Identity for Hard to Reach May 18

We held the final consultation into the use of Verify for the hard to reach in May of this year at techUK’s offices. This 4th industry consultation gave a wrap up of 6 months of work from Tower Hamlets, Hackney, GLA, GDS, Post Office, GBG, Digidentity and MVINE.

We discussed the 5 stages of the project and work carried out with our partners:

Information Governance – are LA processes good enough to meet GPG45 standards for checking and managing of data?

Technical Design & Build – we looked at the metadata used to describe any data source and creating a standard for LAs and HAs to adopt.

User Journeys – we followed a ‘light touch’ approach and prepared some hypothesis for the Beta project and put together some recommended workflows and user designs.

Business Cases – what are the business cases for adopting Verify, why identity matters looking at operational cost savings, the costs of identity and eligibility checking, population movement between LAs and tackling fraud in the public sector.

Implications for GOV.UK/Verify – develop an ecosystems approach combined with an attribute exchange for LAs and HAs to trust, building on previous work around Micro Sources of Data.

For more in depth information and background view the slides here.

Project blog on the OIX website.

Benefits of a common, federated approach to citizen online identity for local authorities

In March we held a London Borough Councils consultation into digital identity and the use of Verify to underpin a legal standard of identity for local authorities.

Presentations were given by the Greater London Authority on a Smarter London and the use of data and technology, used together for the good growth of the city. A Smarter London needs a new city-wide collaboration between public institutions, utilities, research and the technology community by and for Londoners.

The Government Digital Service discussed how Verify is the new way to prove who you are online, to a legal standard. Verify offers citizens safer, simpler and faster access to Government services and is designed to protect against the risks and threats of identity theft.

Ian Litton discussed the importance of a highly assured standard of identity which allows more complex, high value, eligibility based services to be delivered online, to citizens. Federated identity, to a common recognised standard, is important as it establishes trust between organisations, as well as between a LA/HA and their customers. The real value of identity is that it can be used to establish a network of trust. That trust extends beyond the customer and to service providers to include other organisations who hold authoritative data about the customer.

It can underpin the individual giving permission for that data to flow from the attribute provider to the service providers, so that eligibility for services can be established online, in real time. Three business cases came out quite strongly:
1. Tackling fraud and the cost of identity checking
2. Transaction costs
3. Cost of eligibility checking

The focus has been on data collected during social housing transactions because these have high value in terms of identity assurance. LAs and HAs already go through face-to-face processes to establish an applicant’s identity. They also build up a history of activity with those clients as they bid for housing, request repairs and so on.
We looked at how this data could be made available to Verify IdPs using a Digital Log Book – a type of personal data store. This locally held data will be unlocked by customer consent, the customer agreeing to their data being used to help them achieve a Verify identity, so GDPR compliant.

Three topics were discussed amongst the stakeholders:
1. Which services require the most time, effort and cost to establish a citizen’s identity and eligibility?
2. How the use of a personal data store would support LAs handling population movements across Boroughs?
3. How federated identity, coupled with a personal data store, could improve services to the homeless and victims of domestic abuse?

In response housing benefit, council tax, housing fraud and Adult Social Care proved to be costly and time consuming. Identity needs to be assured to a level that can be defended or produced in confidence in court. The use of a personal data store would prove useful if citizens felt they were in control of their data and trust in the system with one generic standard.
The stakeholders agreed that in the future, RFPs, should go out with requirements such as:
· Providing a data schema is provided by the council.
· A user authentication system as defined by the council.
· APIs available as part of the package to allow a council to integrate with other systems, without punitive financial costs.

OIX consultation to test GOV.UK Verify with a multi-service portal for LAs & HAs

A public consultation that took place on the 13/12/17 on GOV.UK Verify with industry leaders and suppliers into digital identity management and verification. 

A key project objective is to raise the assurance levels of citizens enabling them to access national and local services more efficiently, using a legal standard of identity.

The objective of the afternoon was to inform the supply side and gather their views and inputs into 4 topic areas:

1. The roll of private sector hubs and cross sector identity federation.

2. Business case for LAs and HAs to use Verify, for business and customer benefit.

3. How LAs and HAs can assess the return on investment for adopting federated identity.

4. The customer journey and connecting Verify to multiple services, national and local.

The feedback and input we received from the consultation was extremely valuable and will be integrated into the report findings.

There is a project blog which will be updated monthly –

More information available at

City4Age expands into Yardley, Birmingham

Our work continues with Birmingham City Council on their award winning City4Age project.  Last week we continued to install more beacons across Yardley, focusing on areas where older people are most likely to visit such as shops, cafes, library, community centre and even a city farm.  This will enable us to track their movements with a view to understanding daily life patterns and then introduce appropriate interventions based on their behaviours and requirements.

We got great support from Cllrs Sue Anderson and Paul Tilsley CBE, here with Stuart Young, who came to the Anne Marie Howes Centre (Birmingham NHS), a 32 Bedded Rehabilitation Centre.

IoT (Internet of Things) Edinburgh

Etive were delighted to be discussing one of our IoT projects at the #25 IoT meet up in Edinburgh last week.  Phil and Stuart discussed the City4Age project we are doing for Birmingham City Council, which is an EU project focused on producing elderly-friendly city services to support the independence and wellbeing of older citizens. A consortium of 16 organisations were created to help solve the challenges of ageing in today’s society by using non-intrusive, IoT technologies to monitor citizens as they move around their environments. The solutions are being tested in six locations: Athens, Birmingham, Lecce, Madrid, Montpellier, and Singapore.

We’re also delighted that Birmingham is one of Britain’s top 10 smartest cities in the second UK Smart Cities Index, commissioned by Huawei UK and conducted by Navigant Consulting.  Birmingham is ranked as the 4th smartest city in the UK.  One of the criteria that Birmingham was assessed on was the City4Age project, worked on by us at Etive.

Etive presenting at the 25th International Conference on Software, Split, Croatia

Working with Digital Birmingham, Birmingham City Council, one of our top developers, Phil,was presenting with BCC at the 25th International Conference on Software, Telecommunications and Computer Networks.

Over the next 20 years there will be demographic shift from predominantly younger populations to older ones. Current models of care and pathways require transforming to become more citizen focused and support greater community resilience and sustainability. This will require different approaches to innovation to improve quality of life for people as they age, reduce onset of frailty as well as support those better with long term conditions around self-management and prevention strategies. Health and social care providers are looking at how they augment traditional clinical health related services with the use of IoT technologies and smart city services.

Our project with BCC is to work with elderly people using a range of IoT solutions from wearable technology, to beacons connected to your smart phone and a personal data store (DLB) enabling the user to better manage their data and activities.   The captured data can be used in two ways:

• Early detection of risk related to frailty
• Interventions that can help the elderly population to improve their daily life and also promote positive behaviour change.
For more information contact us at
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