Government will handover Verify reins to the private sector

GDS looks to be out of the picture when it comes to Verify management

Whitehall buildings

The government will pass over the building out of its Gov.uk Verify authentication platform to private sector firms specialising in identity management.

In a statement to Parliament, Cabinet Officer Minister Oliver Dowden, according to UK Authority, said that 18-month-long contracts have been signed with identity providers and will mark a transition of Verify from a public to private sector-led management model.

Verify will still provide authentication service to the public sector despite this change, and the government will still provide state-backed standards and assurances for the service, only the onus will be on the private sector partners to build out and deliver Verify.

"The approach announced today ensures that GOV.UK Verify will continue to protect public sector digital services from cyber threats, including identity fraud, and other malicious activity," Dowden explained.

"In addition, the contracts enable the private sector to develop affordable identity assurance services that will meet future private and public sector needs."

Since it's inception in 2011, Verify has been slowly building out with the intention of providing a single identity management platform that could be used across the public sector rather than have different departments and services using their own systems.

Verify was headed up by the Government Digital Service (GDS0 but the various changes in management have since seen GDS become rather marginalises by Whitehall.

And with only 2.2 million accounts on Verify, its adoption has not been as widespread as previously hoped. As such, handing over the reins to the private sector in lieu of strong GDS leadership could be the shot in the arm Verify needs to become more widely adopted.

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