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Identity: One small step for all of Government

Today the cross-Government Identity Assurance programme sanctioned DWP to publish a tender to procure Identity services for all of Government. The notice appears here in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), and marks the start of the formal process to create a market of identity services for access to digital public services. Commercially, it means that the potential cost of procuring services for the cross-government Identity Assurance (IDA) programme has been slashed from £240m to £30m.

Last October Francis Maude announced the move of the Identity Assurance Programme into the new Government Digital Service. We have since built a new team and delivery plan and a working governance structure to implement Identity Assurance solutions strategically across government.

GDS has been working closely with DWP to revise the OJEU and agree it with other Departments. In the first instance, IDA digital services will be used to support Universal Credit and the Personal Independence Payment, which from 2013 will replace DWP’s current benefit system.

The IDA programme supports the Government’s “digital by default” policy - part of its strategy for 21st century ICT with digitally delivered public services offering greater convenience for users, better value for money for tax payers, and cost-saving opportunities for a wider range of public service providers.

Commercial Changes

The changes are mostly commercial: identity assurance is evolving rapidly so no Department wants to be locked into a long contract. Instead, the OJEU has a duration of 18 months.

SME friendly

We have separated the channel delivery - phone, internet and face to face - to ensure the OJEU attracts SME’s with specialisms in each channel and we want to encourage as many SME’s as possible to participate in the tender process.

Government Procurement Services

The revised DWP OJEU notice is effectively an HMG-wide framework being delivered initially using DWP as the vehicle. We will then introduce wider HMG needs into this first draft and cut/paste the whole approach into GPS. This approach ensures that, ultimately, HMG-wide Identity Assurance is supplied across central departments via a common procurement portal (to HMG agreed standards) and governed by the Cabinet Office.

Incremental delivery

Creating a trust infrastructure is an exciting challenge. It is a complicated subject and won't be delivered overnight. We will build the infrastructure incrementally and no doubt get things wrong as we do. But we will learn from our mistakes. The most important part will be remaining constantly focused on user need to achieve success.

We will also share as much of the process as we can and will be updating this blog on a regular basis with updates on the progress of the programme.

In the interim here is more background information on the Government’s Identity Assurance Programme and
and additional details on the government Efficiency and Reform programme.

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  1. Comment by stuart young posted on

    With the different local authority projects into UC, what has become clear is that non users of the web, and those that dont have a digital identity, need to be provided with a simple easy to use on-line solution enabling them to establish their digital identities supporting their applications across multiple agencies for support and access to services. Whether central government can achieve this is open to debate but do wonder if part of the solution is to go out through local authorities?

  2. Comment by Identity services reissue 'more cock-up than conspiracy': Mike Bracken - Government Tenders, Government News and Information - Government Online posted on

    [...] potential cost of procuring services for the cross-government identity assurance programme has been slashed from £240m to £30m, which Bracken put down to the procurement now being more geared towards a commissioning [...]

  3. Comment by Cabinet Office joins the Open Identity Exchange | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] has made a commitment that new digital transactions from central Government Departments such as DWP’s Universal Credit will adopt a federated model for identity registration and credential authentication to prevent [...]

  4. Comment by Good Practice Guides: Enabling Trusted Transactions | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] are the first of a series of guides which will immediately be relevant to the forthcoming DWP Universal Credit procurement. We recognise that the guides are necessarily quite technical, so we will continue to refine and [...]

  5. Comment by Identity: Scheming for Simplicity | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] Cabinet Office Identity Assurance Programme (based in the Government Digital Service) aims to help users transact digitally with public [...]

  6. Comment by £30 Million Government ID Scheme to Be Steered by Dole Office | Set You Free News posted on

    [...] for the cross-government Identity Assurance programme has been slashed from £240m to £30m,” explained Bracken in a blog post [...]

  7. Comment by Összkormányzati személyazonosság-biztosítás, kis lépésekben | eGov Hírlevél posted on

    [...] Identity: One small step for all of Government, Mike Bracken, Government Digital Service, 2012. március 1. Lásd még: Establishing trust in [...]

  8. Comment by maccad » £30m gov ID scheme to be steered by dole office posted on

    [...] for the cross-government Identity Assurance programme has been slashed from £240m to £30m,” explained Bracken in a blog post [...]

  9. Comment by ste williams » £30m gov ID scheme to be steered by dole office posted on

    [...] for the cross-government Identity Assurance programme has been slashed from £240m to £30m,” explained Bracken in a blog post [...]

  10. Comment by David Durant (@cholten99) posted on

    I'm extremely interested in this area and would be keen to find out how to stay up to date with what GDS is doing with regard to identity.

    I'm particularly interested in the possibility of trusted 3rd parties using such a system for free (or low cost) to provide verified identification. For example, proving that a user lives in a particular MP's constituency would enable many kinds of potentially powerful collections of opted-in citizen data.

    Also, it would be excellent if GDS took the opportunity to engage with some NGOs about this. I suggest the Open Rights Group and No2ID. For example, please consider presenting at the upcoming ORGCon conference.

  11. Comment by alan mather posted on

    The maths isn't right though, is it? DWP went to market in December with a value of £200m over 5 years. This is £25m over 18 months; assuming the same costs over 5 years, it's £85m or thereabouts. So the cost has been slashed from maybe £200m to maybe £85m but I also suspect that the £200m included different volumes (catering for the full roll out of UC rather than the partial rollout that will occur in 18 months). And then there's other departments, business identity, transition from the gateway's existing identity setup and other things. I don't see the "slash" at all.

    • Replies to alan mather>

      Comment by William at Mydex posted on

      Maybe the maths is hazardous, and the spectacular slash headline is to focus the mind.

      But I think the point is if a single customer commits the large sum in an inflexible manner to a longer term project in a fast moving area where standards and even the basic architecture are yet to emerge this is more likely to sting the taxpayer than committing a smaller sum to a pan-government approach for a shorter time period on an agile basis. Plus SME-friendly will make a huge difference.

      • Replies to William at Mydex>

        Comment by alan mather posted on

        Yep, agree that ... but it ain't gonna be cheaper, or not much. The difficult stuff is all ahead. With UC driving delivery of this in not much more than a year, whatever is done at that point will be the point of lock in of the standards I imagine.

  12. Comment by William at Mydex posted on

    Makes a lot more sense than the earlier ITT. We like agility, cross-government solutions and SME friendliness. And saving that sort of money makes taxpayers happy.

    Can I clarify one thing please (having gone thru ITT carefully). Does the GDS ID assurance architecture envisage that a public service will always and each time turn to another organisation (bank, credit agancy, Post Office) for stored proof about the individual's claims? Or does it embrace the possibility that digital proofs of claims will be acquired, stored and reused by the individual?