Better governance and incentives needed to make up UK’s late in identity management, says profession body
The UK’s lag in electronic identity management can be cured only by giving GOV.UK.verify better governance - as well as service discounts to persuade a critical mass of users to register, the IT industry’s professional body has recommended.
In one of a series of briefing notes aimed at the government, BCS The Chartered Institute for IT says that alpha and beta tests of GOV.UK Verify have shown that many people trying to sign up for the service give up because of the time involved and the need to have complex data to hand when registering with an identity provider.
GOV.UK Verify, the centrepiece the digital by default programme, is due to provide authentication for 26 government services by late next year.
To encourage take-up, the BCS calls for a professional communications campaign to persuade the public that it is worth registering with an identity provider (IDP) to avoid having to re-register for other government services - plus the ability to use the same asserted identity for non-government services.
The BCS also says that robust governance structures for the Verify scheme “not yet been devised or put in place”. Industry is unwilling to invest in public sector systems due to a lack of a working commercial model.
According to the BCS briefing, use of the scheme outside government is essential for enabling private sector providers to recover their costs of becoming government approved IDPs. It states that the government needs to accept that the commercial model should involve government-supported incentives in the form of discounts to users.
“The UK government needs to work with industry to develop and implement standards-based identity management frameworks that provide usable trust models, possibly based on the banking liability models. When public sector organisations believe they can trust identities registered by others, they no longer feel compelled to re-register those with whom they deal. GOV.UK Verify could potentially save billions in duplicated cost and fraud reduction.”
In other briefings, the BCS says that:
- With online services, the government will need to show it can go beyond the savings identified from shared back office functions or spending controls, and achieve the greater opportunities of fundamentally reshaping services. This will require departments to transform and not remain so focused on business as usual.
- The NHS should leverage past investments, both those at national level such as the NHS Spine and those at local trust and GP practice level, before investing in new systems. “Just because benefits have not yet been measured does not mean that they do not exist," it says "For example, these systems hold vast amounts of data that could be used, subject to the appropriate information governance controls being in place, to enhance healthcare planning and to inform the public.”