A test of different options under the Verify programme has shown most applicants stopping short of a fully verified identity account
More people have taken out basic identity accounts than the fully verified accounts in a trial run by the Government Digital Service (GDS) as part of the GOV.UK Verify programme.
The results have been revealed in a blogpost by Janet Hughes, head of policy and engagement for the programme, which says the trial that ran in June and July led to the creation of 170,000 basic identity accounts and 100,000 verified accounts.
It is part of testing the idea that people who could not provide sufficient evidence for a verified account could still obtain a basic account, which they could provide as proof of identity along with answering additional questions when using an online government service.
Verify involves using one of nine certified companies to confirm that a service user has provided the correct identity. They perform checks for the initial verification and can then provide authentication to a public authority through an online hub.
In the trial, anyone who could not provide the proof for a full verification was offered a basic identity account, which can be re-used for different services and later upgraded to a verified account. If it became clear that they did not have the evidence to verify their identity online they were shown providers that offered the basic accounts. The option was also provided in cases where users had the proof and answered the questions correctly, but the service could still not verify their accounts.
It was aimed at getting as many people as possible to complete the transaction, and it is understood that it was expected that at this stage more basic than verified accounts would be created. But the possibilty of an upgrade exists and the GDS expects most users to eventually have a verified account.
The Verify team is working with government departments to assess whether there is a role for basic identity accounts, either in the form offered during the trial or something different.
Hughes says that another element of the trial involved testing ways of explaining the difference between the two types of account, and that the terms ‘basic’ and ‘verified’ worked best for users as they convey the difference and the potential for an upgrade.
She adds that about 70% of people trying to verify their identities using the service are successful, and that this is on track for a target of 90% by the time it goes from beta to live next April.
Figures on the Verify service dashboard show that the success rate for setting up a basic or verified account rose from 56% before the trial to 88% when it was underway.
This story was updated on 14 October 2015 after research unveiled further information.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0