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Verify amends identity proof process



The government has pointed to changes in some requirements and provided new options in plans for its identity assurance service

Changes are being made in the GOV.UK Verify process to give users more flexibility in how they prove their identity to government.

The Cabinet Office has indicated in a Verify blog that the identity providers can check against a wider range of payment cards, less evidence will be required, and some identity providers will accept photos of an individual and their passport instead of asking questions about credit history.

The steps have taken in response to work done by the providers during from the beta phase of the programme, and to boost the chances of meeting the target of enabling 90% of the population to use Verify to access government services online.

One of the government's flagship digital projects, Verify involves using one of nine certified companies to carry out checks and 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.

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office told UKAuthority there has been no change in the rules but that “providers innovating within the rules” has made new approaches possible.

While the proportion of the adult population that could use Verify is now estimated at 80%, the blog says the programme team has identified trends that it believes makes it possible raise the target.

Evidence extension

One has involved the certified companies being able to use a wider range of evidence in the validation process. Initially it involved the provision of three pieces of evidence, from sources including photocard driving licence, a UK passport and a credit card or loan.

This has now been extended to take in almost all payment cards, which can be checked with the companies that issue them, and that often only two rather than three pieces of evidence will be required. This has been attributed to the certified companies having developed stronger methods of checking the evidence.

Another change reflects the fact that some people are unable or reluctant to provide sufficient details of their credit history. As a result, two of the certified companies, understood to be the Post Office and Digidentity, are giving people the alternative of providing a photo of themselves along with a scan of an identity document.

There will also be more flexibility around the ‘second step’ of signing in to use a service, with the provision of an app that can generate a security code that is sent to the user’s landline phone. Previously it involved sending an SMS code to a mobile phone, which meant the user had to have a phone and be somewhere with a signal.

Over the next three months the five certified companies that joined the programme in the second tranche – Barclays Bank, GB Group, Morpho, PayPal and Royal Mail – are due to step up their involvement alongside the existing four of the Post Office, Experian, Digidentity and Verizon.

This article was amended on 28 October following indications that the rules governing the process had not been changed.

Image: Simon Waldherr, Creative Commons through Wikimedia





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