Federated identity is a powerful mechanism for increasing customer convenience, enhancing organisational efficiency and transforming the way online services are delivered.

In the UK there is currently only one federated identity solution that offers highly assured customer identities backed up by clear, agreed standards. That solution is GOV.UK Verify.

It is essential that GOV.UK Verify registration success rates are improved for “thin-file” customers who may not have any, or a sufficient digital footprint in commercially available data sources to meet the government standard for GOV.UK Verify registration. These customers often make the greatest demands on local government services, and hence would benefit most from transacting online

Bringing additional data into the GOV.UK Verify registration process is key. This Alpha project demonstrates how the use of data collected by local authorities (LAs), made available to identity providers (IDPs), could help otherwise thin-file customers register for a GOV.UK Verify identity.

LAs have sufficiently robust information governance processes in place to be able to provide quality data to IDPs for identity proofing and verification under the Verify scheme. This data would be sufficient to help the majority of thin-file customers achieve a Verify account at level of assurance 2 (LOA2).

There is a strong business case for LAs to adopt GOV.UK Verify, and for IDPs to use LA data in the identity proofing and verification process. Over a 5 year implementation period, a metropolitan council delivering a full range of services, with a local population of 250,000, could save £16.78m (made up of £4.45m identity assurance savings, £2.50m eligibility checking savings and £9.83 service delivery savings).

Based on consultations conducted with LAs and IT suppliers to the LA market, we recommend how Verify should develop in order to better serve the LA market. We have also developed an example customer journey, based on those consultations, and produced a high-level technical solution.

We conclude that LA data provides a valuable and practical solution to making GOV.UK Verify available to the widest range of potential customers, and that a Beta project should be set up to demonstrate this in practice, and to stimulate the LA market for GOV.UK Verify. The recently signed contracts between government and 5 IDPs present the perfect opportunity to achieve this, as the changes broaden the use of Verify and identity standards beyond public sector, a key aspect for a successful identity assurance scheme, in a way that also better meets the needs of LAs.