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GOV.UK One Login: June 2023 update

Natalie Jones OBE, Director of Digital Identity at GDS.

It's now been over 18 months since I became the SRO of GOV.UK One Login so I thought it was high time I provided an update on our progress lest you think we’ve been twiddling our thumbs. 

Nothing could be further from the truth here in the GOV.UK One Login programme. We've been heads down - pedal to the metal - building, testing, iterating and operating our product set over the past six months. 

We’ve now got 8 services onboard, multiple routes through our product to prove an identity to a medium GPG 45 profile, an Apple and Android app, so it’s been go, go, go…

Shipping product

When I last wrote I talked about how we were shaping our backlogs and working to understand what it was that users and departments needed. Since then our focus has shifted to building and shipping the things on the list, while continuing to run a robust and resilient live service. 

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. We’re making over 500 separate releases a month to production through our automated pipeline. We’re running continuous discovery sessions in parallel to development and have conducted over 100 end user research sessions in the last six months alone. 

We now have 8 services using GOV.UK One Login, these are:

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. Our identity check apps have now been downloaded over 2 million times and we’ve issued over 1.5 million verified identities since our first users last summer. More than 815,000 individuals now have GOV.UK One Login accounts that can now be accessed using authenticator apps as one of their factors. We’re accepting overseas telephone numbers for One Time Passwords and we’ve got Welsh Language versions. 

Tackling inclusion 

That’s pretty impressive but we haven’t stopped there. We’re really focussed on broadening out the reach of our service to users who don’t have a driving licence or passport as well as those with low digital skills. 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!

We’re also just finalising our plans for our first ‘low’ profiles and our first ‘medium profile’ that won’t need users to have any form of photo ID at all. More on these exciting new features as they mature. 

Goodbye GOV.UK Verify 

The pace at the end of 2022 was determined at least in part by the desire to retire our predecessor service GOV.UK Verify. I’m happy to say that before Christmas GOV.UK Verify issued its last identity and in March this year, the last service using it migrated away and it has now been decommissioned. We often talk about new features and products -  so it's good to be able to celebrate the brilliant efforts, teamwork and collaboration that enabled us to elegantly switch something off. GOV.UK Verify successfully proved the identity of 10m end-users and facilitated 18.6m transactions across 27 services using seven identity providers. I hope everyone who worked on Verify is proud of their contribution.

The lessons learned from GOV.UK Verify formed a core part of the thinking around the way we have set up and been running GOV.UK One Login. We’ve been focussed 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. This is over 10% higher than the target rates agreed with the service before it onboarded. 

So with one last glance backwards we are now firmly focussed forwards and on the exciting roadmap we have in place for 2023-24 and beyond. 

Over the next 18 months we’ll be onboarding the vast bulk of government services. As part of that many of you reading this will create GOV.UK One Login accounts in that period. Please let us know what you think when this happens by dropping us a line.

Until next time, Natalie.

If you work on a public government service with authentication and/or identity validation needs, get in touch with our team.

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  1. Comment by Geoff Nancolas posted on

    There was a mismatch of some addresses between the Apple/Android implementations of the NHS Tracing app. It appeared to be rooted in the conflict in use of the Postal Address (PAF) used by the Android version, and the National Gazetteer (AddressBase) used for Apples. Has the conflict been resolved for OneLogin?

    • Replies to Geoff Nancolas>

      Comment by The GDS Team posted on

      Thanks for your comment. For the GOV.UK One Login app, the system which checks the address does not sit on the app itself, but as part of the wider platform it connects to. This system is shared between the Android version and the Apple version of our app. This means there is no difference in the address system being used between the Android version and the Apple version.

      The GDS Team

      • Replies to The GDS Team>

        Comment by Geoff Nancolas posted on

        I am unaware that the Tracing app address problem was ever resolved. That may well mean that you will inherit that problem.

      • Replies to The GDS Team>

        Comment by Gurjit Singh posted on

        Very good job

  2. Comment by David Baker posted on

    My partner has randomly had the app download on her iPhone, which is too old for facial recognition
    Also she is unaware how the app got on her phone in the first place, other than she has been trying to view her nhs records - without success!!

  3. Comment by Tina Mason posted on

    Any update on the new in-person ID verification please?

    I still can't register with Government Gateway for HMRC's digital services, as I don't have any of the acceptable forms of ID, with the possible exception of credit checks.

    I think it highly unlikely I will be able to do the in-person scheme either, unless it's coming to post offices and corner shops everywhere, because I don't drive and am in poor health. Nevertheless, I do hope your strategy for "inclusion" will mean there is a way forward for me, as I am fed up with being denied access to government-promoted services that are meant to be for everyone.

    It's not illegal to have no documents. I don't because I don't need them. I don't drive, I don't travel abroad. I don't have a recent P60 because I stopped work in 2012. All of which is perfectly legitimate, but I'm penalised as if it were criminal!

    • Replies to Tina Mason>

      Comment by The GDS Team posted on

      Hi Tina,

      Thank you for your question. Inclusion is very important to GOV.UK One Login which is why we are developing a route for users to prove their identity without needing any form of photo ID, which we are aiming to be live later this year. We are aiming to build out our offering to ensure that as many people as possible can use GOV.UK One Login

      The in-person service will have many locations across the UK and we anticipate that most people in the UK will be within 10 miles of a branch. We will be publishing more information on the in-person service soon.

      The GDS Team