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GOV.UK Verify signs up 19 councils for pilots


Local authorities to take part in schemes to test use of identity assurance platform for older people’s travel cards and residents' parking permits

A group of local authorities have reached agreement with the Government Digital Service (GDS) to take part in two pilot schemes for the use of the GOV.UK Verify platform.

Overall 19 are going to test the platform for two services: issuing passes for older people’s concessionary travel, and issuing residents' parking permits.

blogpost from the Verify team says the pilots will deal with the issues faced by users in making first time applications, with a focus on introducing an online option to access the service where one is not already in place, or improving the existing business process.

It shows some of the councils will take part in both workstreams. The 11 involved in the concessionary travel project are Brighton and Hove, Buckinghamshire, Central Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Camden, Luton, Hillingdon, Northumberland, Southampton and Warwickshire.

The 14 taking part in the parking permits pilot are Brighton and Hove, Buckinghamshire, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Barnet, Camden, Hillingdon, Newcastle, Northumberland, Oxfordshire, Southampton, Sunderland, Tunbridge Wells and Wigan.

A supplier event, staged with IT industry association techUK, took place yesterday, and the first discovery workshops with the councils are scheduled to take place on 18 October, aimed at establishing key discovery activities and products and a project plan. Before this, the Verify team is planning to visit the councils to analyse their processes and collect data on service costs, user volumes and available channels.

True collaboration

Jess McEvoy, GDS interim programme director for Verify, said: “The pilots are a true collaboration across a large number of organisations, working in the open.

“I'm really delighted with the response we've received from local authorities so far and all the input we've had from the sector in shaping our approach. We can't wait to get started.”

Two more discovery workshops for additional projects are in the pipeline: one for using Verify in re-use accounts (residents’ online accounts that are used to access a number of local authority services), due to take place on 26 October; and one on housing benefit and council tax reduction in November.

Verify has been developed for public authorities to authenticate people’s identities in providing online services, working through a hub in which a certified company provides the verification. It went live in May for 10 central government services, and GDS has said that it hopes to include more over the next few months.

While the initial focus was very much on Whitehall, the Verify team has stepped up the effort to extend the platform to local government services, along with indicating that it could have a role in commercial activities.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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