Feeds

£30m gov ID scheme to be steered by dole office

DWP (once again) puts out notice to private sector players

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Identity assurance remains a hot topic at the Cabinet Office. And, despite a false start late last year, Whitehall is pushing ahead with its plans to offload ID-handling onto the private sector.

The department's digital boss Mike Bracken confirmed yesterday that, as expected, the Department for Work and Pensions had been tasked with overseeing procurement of identity services across government.

It published a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (Ojeu) that signalled the Cabinet Office's intention to create a private sector market for the handling of taxpayers' ID.

As The Register exclusively revealed last year, such a plan will almost certainly need primary legislation to make the scheme a reality in the UK.

Despite that, plenty of cash has already been plonked on the ID assurance pile, with the price tag standing at £30m, according to Bracken. In November, Francis Maude's department had allocated £10m to the scheme.

While some would argue that it remains unclear why it is necessary to build an entirely new platform for transactions between benefit claimants and the DWP – given that a system for handling taxpayer's identity credentials is already in place – the Cabinet Office is convinced that a market can be created wrapped around its digital agenda.

That digital agenda amounts to the development of a fancy-looking website – GOV.UK – that will replace New Labour's Directgov, while the ID assurance scheme is expected to eventually kibosh the grandly named government gateway that was built by Microsoft back in 2001.

Maude has repeatedly insisted that the so-called "digital-by-default" agenda will save money in the public purse.

"Commercially, it means that the potential cost of procuring services for the cross-government Identity Assurance programme has been slashed from £240m to £30m," explained Bracken in a blog post yesterday.

Whether the cost of ID assurance might balloon remains open to question, however. After all, the scheme remains at the development stage of what a Cabinet Office spokesman told us in November last year involved only the "initial instantiations of the model". Beyond that, the offloading of identity-handling onto the private sector is expected to require legislation.

But hey, what's £30m to the taxpayer, right?

As for the details laid out in the tender document to the Ojeu, ID assurance is expected to initially support Universal Credit and the Personal Independent Payment systems to be implemented by the DWP in 2013 for 21 million claimants in the UK.

Providers need to offer either online, telephone or face-to-face identity verification.

Some other tidbits include:

  • Identity verification – Verification will be performed in an appropriate channel (web, telephone or face-to-face). The provider will verify that sufficient evidence exists to verify that a person presenting on a given channel is the owner of the claimed identity.
  • Credential management – The provider will securely manage the credential lifecycle (eg, user name, password, hard or soft tokens, grids, voice samples, memorable information, one time passwords etc), from issue to decommission, including all aspects of management of the customer, which will include for example credential loss/recovery/ reissue.
  • Identity correction services – For example, managing and resolving errors identified by the customer and / or DWP.
  • Identity revocation services – Revocation of the identity (or use thereof for government authentication purposes) from the supplier.
  • DWP is building interfaces to its systems for Identity Assurance that currently use standard SAML 2 profiles. The initial set of services for DWP will therefore need to be built so that they can interface with this, and support authentication requests and responses in the telephony channel. However this interface may not necessarily apply as the services roll out across HMG.

The tender document also points out that it's difficult at this stage to work out the cost of the ID assurance scheme to government.

"In advance of market engagement it is difficult to quantify the expected length of contracts or cost of this service. However, this manner of ID assurance provision represents a brand new, cross-HMG approach that will be of significant value across HMG," it said.

The dole office actually stuck its ID services tender in the EU journal in late December, only to almost immediately yank it because the DWP had failed to follow the necessary procedures required for the procurement process.

As an aside, Google is among the companies involved in the gov's private sector identity marketplace. The Chocolate Factory changed its privacy policy this week to allow the search giant to more easily track its users across its online estate – with ID verification placed at the centre of its plans to earn even more ad bucks. And Europe isn't happy about the potentially "unlawful" terms of service tweak. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?