My honourable friend the Minister for Implementation (Oliver Dowden) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I want to update the House on the GOV.UK Verify programme, on the creation of a digital identity market, and the provision of a digital identity service to Government.
Since its inception, GOV.UK Verify has sought to create an effective standards based digital identity market in the UK. International examples point to the challenges in successfully creating a secure digital identity framework for the public and private sector. I am proud that the UK is regarded as a global leader in this space, and that the innovative assets and standards created by the GOV.UK Verify programme have been utilised by numerous international Governments.
GOV.UK Verify is now sufficiently mature to move to the next phase of its development. The private sector will take responsibility for broadening the usage and application of digital identity in the UK.
I can confirm that contracts have been signed with a number of private sector identity providers, for an 18 month period, and with capped expenditure. These commercial arrangements formalise the transition to a private sector led model.
The Government has an immediate and growing need for digital identity. As such, I am pleased to confirm that the GOV.UK Verify programme will continue providing a digital identity service to the public sector.
Poorly secured services are vulnerable to attack from cyber crime and other hostile activity. GOV.UK Verify enables citizens to securely prove that they are who they say they are to a high degree of confidence when transacting with Government online. It is a major enabler and a critical dependency for Government’s digital transformation.
The Government will continue to provide state backed assurance and standards to ensure there is trust and confidence in the emergent digital identity market. The Government expects that commercial organisations will create and reuse digital identities, and accelerate the creation of an interoperable digital identity market. This is therefore the last investment that the Government will provide to directly support the GOV.UK Verify programme. It will be the responsibility of the private sector to invest to ensure the delivery of this product beyond the above period.
The approach announced today ensures that GOV.UK Verify will continue to protect public sector digital services from cyber threats, including identity fraud, and other malicious activity. In addition, the contracts enable the private sector to develop affordable identity assurance services that will meet future private and public sector needs.
I am pleased that the Government can continue to support the creation of a digital identity market, and the work of the GOV.UK Verify programme.