New programme director outlines plans including privacy dialogue, software updates and trials for local government
Signing mortgage deeds and telling the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about medical conditions will be the next two services to use the GOV.UK Verify identity assurance mechanism.
Jess McEvoy has highlighted the two services among the plans for the coming months in her first blogpost since becoming acting programme director last week.
She says the mortgage deed service, operated by Land Registry, should go into private beta in the autumn, and the DVLA service is already at that stage and aimed to go to public beta “very soon”.
The two services join a list of 14 others that were earmarked for early use of Verify when it went live in May. McEvoy says one of the priorities for these is to look into how users are doing with the service and improve completion rates, pointing to the Department for Work and Pension’s Universal Credit operation as an example.
While there may be a political element in the updates – aimed at showing the programme is still on track after last week’s sudden departure of McEvoy’s predecessor Janet Hughes – it conveys the detail to indicate progress on a number of fronts.
Among these is making Verify available for local government services, which are gathering some momentum with a series of discovery projects with councils and plans to announce some trials during the autumn. Lat month the team said it had received service information from more than 30 councils interested in working with it on the process.
This could amount to a significant step forward given that the early work in the programme focused on central government, while there is a need for an effective identity assurance mechanism for online local services.
Another strand of work is focusing on improving the user journey and making the service more resilient, through measures such as improving the way people can choose their certified company – which provides the initial authentication of their identities – and the hub’s ability to handle increased traffic.
The hub is the mechanism through which a government body can ask a certified company to verify an individual’s identity, and McEvoy says it can already handle 45% more users per second than when it went live.
Among the priorities are to improve the release process to put out new versions of the software more quickly, and to be more clear in telling users when something has gone wrong. The latter will focus on being more specific about the causes of an error and helping people identity what to do next.
In addition, work is taking place on how to preserve privacy in the use of Verify, with more information on the approach expected for next month.
The post also says that 80,000 people have had their identities verified through the service and that 77% of users have been 'sastisfied' or 'very satisfied'.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0