Wednesday, 22 April 2015

RIP IDA – why are GDS so embarrassed?

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.
And it's dead.

Here's a selection of GDS posts and a film in the week leading up to purdah:

24-03-2015
Janet Hughes
25-03-2015
Chris Mitchell
25-03-2015
Janet Hughes
25-03-2015
Janet Hughes
26-03-2015
Janet Hughes and Stephen Dunn
26-03-2015
Mike Bracken
27-03-2015
David Rennie
27-03-2015
Mike Bracken
27-03-2015
Mike Beavan
28-03-2015
Mike Bracken
28-03-2015
Mike Bracken
29-03-2015
Mike Bracken
29-03-2015
Liam Maxwell
30-03-2015
Martha Lane Fox

We've already taken one look at Janet Hughes's 24 March 2015 film, Introducing GOV.UK Verify (RIP). Let's take another.

14 seconds into the film, we see this screen:

Is this your first time verifying your identity?
It's not just in this film but throughout the material on GOV.UK Verify (RIP), the distinction is made between the first time you verify your identity and the subsequent occasions on which you convince some government service that you are who you say you are.

It's an important distinction. Janet Hughes makes the point between 6'40" and 7'40" in her film. The first time involves you in an onerous dialogue with an "identity provider" (ten minutes or so, according to Ms Hughes). Whereas subsequent verifications are quicker (more like one minute) and the principal dialogue is between you and a public service provider.

They're two different activities. The second one is properly called "verification" and the first, "registration".

"Verifying your identity for the first time" is a bit of a mouthful, when you could just say "registering".

The Government Digital Service (GDS) seem to be unwilling to call it by its name but that's what it is. Registration. Click "yes" on the screen above and you enter the process of registering yourself with one of GOV.UK Verify (RIP)'s "identity providers". You put yourself on the register.

There must be a permanent register. That's what makes the process ten times quicker when you later come to make your redundancy claim with the Insolvency Service, for example. But GDS never mention the ID register.

They never mention it but GDS want you on that national identity register (NIR). Farmers are currently claiming their basic payments from the Rural Payment Agency using an entirely paper-based system, ever since GDS's digital system had to be ditched. But they're only allowed to claim if they have first registered with GOV.UK Verify (RIP).

Why are GDS so embarrassed about mentioning the NIR?

There's no point the rest of us guessing the answer. Better if GDS volunteer it. It looks deceitful not to. "Make things open, it makes them better", as they were telling us as recently as 27 March 2015.

Their answer will no doubt be included in the forthcoming GOV.UK Verify (RIP) public information campaign.

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