Programme’s local authority lead outlines approach to ‘teasing out’ issues to make central government identity assurance platform attractive for use in local services
Plans to adopt the GOV.UK Verify identity assurance platform for local authorities will involve the creation of a common service design approach, according to the programme’s local government lead.
Linda O’Halloran (pictured) told the annual conference of public sector IT association Socitm that the team is working on the plan to save councils from developing their own variations on a set of common processes, and to make it more cost-effective for them to pick up the service.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to see how we can obtain economies of scale,” she said.
“We know it is difficult to look at Verify because you don’t yet know how much it is going to cost, but we are committed to making it the most cost-beneficial way of authenticating that people are who they say they are. We are using this to make the case to identity providers to show the size of the market.”
O’Halloran emphasised the importance of developing a solid business case for the use, and said that any authorities that can provide data towards this would be making a worthwhile contribution.
Travel and parking pilots
A pilot programme is about to begin in which 19 local authorities will test the use of Verify for authenticating people for two services: issuing passes for older people’s concessionary travel, and issuing residents' parking permits. This will be followed by a prototyping phase in the new year.
O’Halloran said this is all part of the effort to adapt the platform for local government: “Verify has been developed for central government services in the context of security, legal and commercial frameworks, and all these things have to be teased out for local government.”
She added that the team aims to investigate Verify’s use in the integration of health and social care and that, although it has not yet addressed any details, it plans to begin work on the issue in the new year.
“We would try to pick a contained starting point to learn the lessons,” she said. “We haven’t figured out which service areas it would be in.”
She also emphasised three main approaches in the implementation of the platform, which went live for a number of central government services in May.
“One is to be agile, so we can deliver iteratively so we have stuff to show at the end of each phase, so it’s production driven,” she said.
“We want to open, which means that at the end of every phase we will publish any service pattern and business case material. And it’s a collaborative project, so we want to identify opportunities for re-use. As we create things for local authorities they can re-used across the sector.”