Interim Verify chief plans to expand identity service to NHS

Jess McEvoy says identity scheme is on track despite changes at GDS

The Government's new interim head of identity assurance programme Verify has announced its plans for digitising mortgage deeds, and allowing people with medical conditions to log their illnesses with the DVLA online.

Interim director Jess McEvoy issued a statement outlining the scheme's successes over the last few months and highlighting what it plans to do in the coming year, after her predecessor, Janet Hughes, left after a change of leadership at the Government Digital Service (GDS).

McEvoy explained the next steps in the government's plans to help digitise its services include the ability to digitally sign a mortgage deed for the land registry, which is due to launch in private beta in the autumn, and allowing drivers to tell the DVLA about a medical condition, which will be heading to public beta "very soon".

She also confirmed plans to make Verify available to departments outside of central government, making the platform easier to integrate into local services as well.

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"The government is committed to maximum possible re-use of Verify across the public sector and beyond," McEvoy said. "We're looking at the viability of offering Verify at scale to other public bodies (for example, the NHS and local authorities) as well as the private sector."

McEvoy revealed the government successfully verified 800,000 identities in August, and claimed 77.5 per cent of the people using the service are satisfied with it.

However, there are still improvements to be made, she said, including improving the completion rate, which currently stands at 36 per cent, and making the feedback process better too.

"Next up we'll be focusing on two main areas," McEvoy added. "We will improve our release process so we can put out new versions of the software more quickly and more reliably.

"This will allow us to respond to changing requirements more easily and free up our developers to focus on meeting user needs. We will also improve how we tell users when something goes wrong."

Earlier in August, it was announced Kevin Cunnington would become chief of the GDS, replacing Stephen Foreshew-Cain. He echoed plans to keep the service firmly together, "with a clear mandate to lead digital, technology and data across government."

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