Identity Assurance is made up of many different areas of work, as you’d expect of a complex programme. Whether they’re focused on business processes, security, commercial models, government standards or anything else, they all share the common goal of producing results that are actually fit for purpose. And the only effective way to ensure that is to test – continually – with real people in real situations. This helps us to learn what works and, just as importantly, what doesn’t.

At the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) meeting on 15th February we presented one of the first ‘alpha’ projects. It’s running in South Yorkshire and involves a number of collaborating organisations: O2, the South Yorkshire Credit Union,e@SY Connects (South Yorkshire Public Services Partnership) and a company from Canada called SecureKey. Each one of these organisations needs to invest in projects like this and find ways to address the challenges of trust, identity and authentication.

The aim of this particular alpha project is to test the theory that if you make it easy for people to establish their identity when accessing digital public services, people will choose to access them digitally rather than pick up the phone or go to a branch. However, as years of exploring the concepts has shown, making this happen is not simple. It requires a lot of different organisations to collaborate – because no single organisation is responsible for everything required to create a solution.

The presentation was about the initial phase of this alpha project which started in November. In terms of conclusions from this alpha it’s still very early days, but O2 have produced a video interviewing some of the participants here which gives a deeper insight into what it’s trying to achieve. We’ll be providing further updates at OIX meetings every 3 months or so.

We’ll also have similar presentations on other alpha projects that we’re running. You’ll be able to find dates for these meetings on the OIX UK website. They help us to get genuine insight into how digital services will actually be used, and that’s particularly important in making sure they’ll be useful and relevant for all areas of society.

-Steve Wreyford, Head of Communications and Marketing, UK Identity Assurance Program

Read more at the ID Assurance Blog on the UK Cabinet Office’s Government Digital Service site: