Monday, 24 March 2014

RIP IDA – April is the cruellest month

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 is the Cabinet Office Identity Assurance programme. And it's dead.

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Anyone remember this?
Press release
Providers announced for online identity scheme

13 November 2012

Successful providers chosen to design and deliver a secure online identity registration service.

The Post Office, Cassidian, Digidentity, Experian, Ingeus, Mydex, and Verizon are the successful providers chosen to design and deliver a secure online identity registration service for the Department for Work and Pensions.

The identity registration service will enable benefit claimants to choose who will validate their identity by automatically checking their authenticity with the provider before processing online benefit claims ...

Notes to Editors:
...

2. In May 2012 DWP issued an invitation to tender to 44 suppliers.

3. The value of the 18-month framework contracts is £25m.

4. The Identity Assurance programme is a Government-wide initiative led by the Cabinet Office which will in time be available to all UK citizens who need to access online public services.

...

6. Universal Credit, which will go live nationally in October 2013, replaces the current complicated paper based benefits payment system we have now with a new online application that meets the needs of claimants and employers in today’s digital world.

7. One further provider is expected to sign up in the next few weeks - completing the eight chosen to design and deliver a secure online IDA service for Universal Credit.
Once upon a time there were seven "identity providers" – the Post Office, Cassidian, Digidentity, Experian, Ingeus, Mydex, and Verizon. Then there were eight – as per note 7, PayPal signed up later. Then there were five – Cassidian, Ingeus and PayPal pulled out. 39 of the original 44 (note 2) aspitants are gone.

Universal Credit did not go live in October 2013 (note 6). To date, no benefit claimants can choose an "identity provider" to verify their identity and there are no online benefit claims services. No sign of it so far, how long before the Cabinet Office provide identity assurance across all Government departments to all UK citizens (note 4)? They haven't said.

As Whitehall press releases go, Providers announced for online identity scheme must count as one of the most misleading ever. Is there an appropriate award? The Nostradamus Trophy?

There can't be much of that £25 million left 17 months later and there's only a month to go before the contracts come up for renewal (note 3).

With their exclusivity period at an end, will the surviving five "identity providers" face competition from Google? Or Facebook?

Not with only £25 million on the table, they won't. Will that become £250 million for the next 18 months? Or will the government stop paying the "identity providers" and leave us to pay for our dematerialised ID cards ourselves?

Will the surviving five renew their contracts? Or will they prudently cut their losses and depart the field with their reputations relatively intact?

In which case, what will the UK's political parties fill up their May 2015 manifestos with under the heading of "modernisation"?

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