Tuesday, 14 March 2017

GDS's commitment to user control of personal information

Public administration in the UK has problems which could be solved if public services became digital by default. That is the raison d'être of the Government Digital Service (GDS).

Digital by default? What does "digital" mean? According to Tom Loosemore, ex-Deputy Director of GDS, "digital means applying the culture, practices, processes and technologies of the internet era to respond to people’s raised expectations".

The reactionaries in Whitehall have hobbled GDS. That's what Jerry Fishenden and Cassian Young say: "It is convenient for institutionally conservative managers to watch the energy behind transformation dissipate harmlessly in the sandbox where the agile insurgents are left to play with their websites", please see Escaping waterfall government and the myth of ‘digital transformation’.

Monday, 6 March 2017

The Smart Essex Digital Summit to explore digital future

That's what Essex TV are excited about: "Leading technology partners are teaming up with Essex County Council to define how a digital strategy should be at the heart of a council to improve people’s lives, reshape public services and drive prosperity".

A major event, to be held at the BT Tower on 27 February 2017. So you've missed it. So did DMossEsq. "The Smart Essex Digital Summit is by invitation only", and our invitation was lost in the post.

Monday, 30 January 2017

RIP IDA – OIX to the rescue

No need to say it, it goes without saying, it should be obvious to all but,
just in case it isn't obvious to all,
IDA is dead.

IDA, now known as "GOV.UK Verify (RIP)",
is the Cabinet Office Identity Assurance programme.

14 June 2012, we discovered that the Government Digital Service (GDS) had joined the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) in order to help with their moribund identity assurance programme now known as "GOV.UK Verify (RIP)".

23 December 2016, OIX published The value of digital identity to the financial service sector, which explores "the reuse of a GOV.UK Verify [RIP] digital identity in a financial service application process".

Does that report help GDS?

Friday, 30 December 2016

@gdsteam & HMG's digital transformation strategy


Sir Jeremy Heywood is the Cabinet Secretary and the Head of the UK's Home Civil Service ... He published his review of calendar 2015 in a series of 54 tweets between 23 December 2015 and 3 January 2016 ...
That's what we wrote on 24 January 2016.

No such review of 2016 is being tweeted at the moment by Sir Jeremy.

Perhaps nothing much has happened this year.

Friday, 16 December 2016

RIP IDA – 119 years? Not many people know that.

No need to say it, it goes without saying, it should be obvious to all but,
just in case it isn't obvious to all,
IDA is dead.

IDA, now known as "GOV.UK Verify (RIP)",
is the Cabinet Office Identity Assurance programme.


GDS, the Government Digital Service, were meant to have an identity assurance service "fully operational" by March 2013.

That didn't happen but they have been testing GOV.UK Verify (RIP) since February 2014 ...

... and the system was declared to be live on 24 May 2016.

Between 23 May 2016 and 11 December 2016 237,850 GOV.UK Verify (RIP) accounts were created. That's an average of 1,172 per day.

The Office for National Statistics estimate that there were 50,908,702 people in the UK aged 18 or over in mid-2014.

At the rate of 1,177 1,172 per day, it would take 43,450 days to create 50,908,702 GOV.UK Verify (RIP) accounts. That's more than 119 years.

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Updated 10:43

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The odd couple

81.6% of people are satisfied or very satisfied with how easy it is to use GOV.UK Verify (RIP). 84.5% of people feel secure registering with the system and 80.5% are comfortable with "identity providers"/certified companies.

These user satisfaction figures are taken from the GOV.UK Verify (RIP) dashboard on the Government Digital Service's GOV.UK performance platform. They are based on 11,687 responses to the ease of use question, 11,623 to the security question and 11,552 on "identity providers".

DMossEsq and other critics can carp all they like. They're wrong, GDS may say. Just look at those user satisfaction ratings. Over 80% of people are satisfied with GOV.UK Verify (RIP) or very satisfied with it. That's what counts. And "counts" is the right word. We're dealing with numbers here. And you can't argue with numbers ...

... or can you?

Friday, 18 November 2016

Untitled 3





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Untitled 2

Untitled 1

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

RIP IDA – other people's money

No need to say it, it goes without saying, it should be obvious to all but,
just in case it isn't obvious to all,
IDA is dead.

IDA, now known as "GOV.UK Verify (RIP)",
is the Cabinet Office Identity Assurance programme.

Selected UK local authorities are now conducting trials of the Government Digital Service's dead duck, GOV.UK Verify (RIP).

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

RIP IDA – local government, the lender of last resort

No need to say it, it goes without saying, it should be obvious to all but,
just in case it isn't obvious to all,
IDA is dead.

IDA, now known as "GOV.UK Verify (RIP)",
is the Cabinet Office Identity Assurance programme.


The Government Digital Service (GDS) have convinced 19 local authorities to conduct trials of GOV.UK Verify (RIP).

11 local authorities are going to try to use GOV.UK Verify (RIP) to issue concessionary travel passes. And 14 local authorities are going to try to use it to issue residents' parking permits.


The plan previously was to see if GOV.UK Verify (RIP) could help with issuing taxi licences as well. It was always a peculiar plan and now it's been dropped.

GDS are demanding that local authorities commit to the trials/pilot runs. Once they've started they have to finish – GDS lays down law on council Verify adoption criteria. It's expensive, conducting trials ...

... and local authorities only want to use GOV.UK Verify (RIP) if it saves them money. That plan hasn't been dropped. GDS still haven't provided a price list but they're going to have to soon.

What should we expect to see as these trials unfold?

Let's work our way through an example.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

"Stale" and "self-legitimising" public administrators

"... we foster a user-centred culture in GDS and across government by getting everyone involved in user research", it says in a Government Digital Service blog post today, Don’t forget! 2 hours every 6 weeks. "We have user researchers as part of agile teams, for example. That's part of our DNA ... Our natural state can be to look inwards [horror], towards our teams [awful], not outwards towards our users [that's better] ...".

This is all part of putting user needs first, rule #1 in the GDS Design Principles: "Service design starts with identifying user needs. If you don’t know what the user needs are, you won’t build the right thing. Do research, analyse data, talk to users. Don’t make assumptions. Have empathy for users, and [you] should remember that what they ask for isn't always what they need".

This initially clear picture is clouded by the genetically modified Government as a Platform (GaaP) team at GDS, who said in May 2016: "Everyone knows we start with user needs. Except we don't. We start with the needs of our team ... When we don't do this our research isn't useful to our team and they ignore it. There's nothing more pointless than doing research that no one listens to". That's one of their Eight principles for user researchers on Government as a Platform.

Should GDS "look outwards towards [their] users" and start with "identifying user needs"? Or is that "pointless"? Should they rather "start with the needs of [the GDS GaaP] team"?

Confusing, isn't it. Which one is the doctrine? Outwards? Or inwards?