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HMRC official highlights challenges for One Login

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Image source: GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

Discussions are ongoing about what different government departments need to use the future One Login for Government identity verification services, according to senior official from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Tom Skaylycz, chief technology and design officer at HMRC, was speaking at the Think Digital Identity for Government conference yesterday about its work with the Government Digital Service (GDS), which is leading the programme.

He said progress is being made, with HMRC being one of the lead departments in looking to migrate its identity verification away from Government Gateway to One Login as a centralised mechanism for access to central government services.

“In addition to the technical capabilities GDS are developing, support services and infrastructure are required for such a major service,” he said.

“Key points of that include customer support services, offline support to help customers who experience an issue when using One Login or struggle to prove their identity online. This will move the offering beyond the ‘happy path’ only, which was a failing in the retired Verify service.”

Four challenges

He said this would directly benefit HMRC, with the promise of greatly reducing the number of customers needing support to access online services, but highlighted four challenges that are not within the current scope of the programme and remain with individual departments.

They are: verification and authentication for organisations; making arrangements for delegated authority, when a third party acts on behalf of an individual; managing access permissions and enrolments; and the provision of APIs and sign-in through software systems.

“This will not be supported by One Login and HMRC will need to support separate aspects of these log-in journeys,” Skaylycz said. But he added: “Overall, there is some commonality where we can potentially work with GDS and look at the scope to support these more common pieces, such as delegated authority.”

He said that HMRC plans begin its migration to One Login in the summer of 2023, although it is working on the principle that it cannot begin until it meets all of its requirements with an equivalent or better standard than its existing service.

Early intention

It will begin with people managing personal tax accounts, and there will be a need for further work for “more complex user groups” such as tax agents and business to migrate.

“Where you have an existing Verify identity with HMRC that confidence will migrate with the customer, removing the need for the customer to pass through the full identity verification flow at the point of migration,” Skaylycz added.

The broader plan for departments to move to One Login is that they will be required to develop adoption strategies by April of next year but not to begin onboarding until 2025.

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