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Digital identities for Scottish public services to include attribute stores


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The digital directorate of the Scottish Government is aiming to develop attribute stores for citizens as part of its Digital Identity Scotland programme.

Policy lead Gavin Ross pointed out the plan at last week’s Think Digital Identity for Government conference, saying it is one of three core components of the effort to produce a digital identity mechanism for the country’s public services.

He said the ambition is for users of the service to have a secure online space for the attributes that support their identity verification. They would have control of the data and could re-use it when applying for other services, with the possibility of it working for private sector offerings.

There has so far been no agreement on details of the relevant attributes, but they could be subject to standards shared with the One Login for Government programme under development within the Cabinet Office for UK central government services.

Ross said the other core components are secure sign-on, described as “one set of details to securely access multiple services including account creation, sign-in, two factor authentication, account reset and recovery”, and built-in accessibility standards. The latter will take into account the Scottish Government’s approach to service design and be based on user feedback.

Safe and easy

“Our objective is to make it safe and easier for people to apply for public services, adopting a standards based approach with core principles of choice, control and security,” he said.

Other elements of the programme involve using existing technology such as GOV.UK Notify, the Connect2id server and Experian and Mitek systems for knowledge based verification. This all has to support the full sign-in, the capacity to provide and change passwords, multiple two factor authentication methods and a range of emerging standards.

A pilot of the new service with Disclosure Scotland is planned for next year, and the directorate has launched a public engagement exercise as part of the programme.


Ross added that it has been collaborating with the Government Digital Service team for the One Login programme, with regular meetings and workshops.

“We absolutely want to learn from the discussions,” he said. “We’re at an early stage of talking about how the different products could  support each other. None of this has been agreed yet and there is a lot of work to go through, but there could be additional routes to identity verification using UK government data for Scottish citizens.”

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