GDS, part of the Cabinet Office, created Verify as a cross-government approach to identity assurance. It was intended to be the default way for people to prove their identities, so they could securely access online government services, such as claiming tax back and receiving benefit payments. Verify went live in May 2016, although earlier work to develop an identity assurance strategy and framework started in 2011. The programme contracts out verification services to five ‘identity providers’, all private sector companies, who receive payments based on the number of people they sign up as Verify users. GDS spent £154 million on Verify and its predecessor programme from April 2011 to September 2018. In October 2018, the Cabinet Office announced that government funding would stop in March 2020. After this time, GDS intends that the private sector will take over responsibility for Verify, including for investment to ensure its future delivery.
Published: 8 May 2019