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

GDS have a number of "identity providers" under contract to provide GOV.UK Verify (RIP) with identity assurance services. Relying parties like HMRC, for example, need to know that the person on the other end of the line applying for a tax rebate really is who they say they are before any money can be legitimately handed out.

These contracts are entered into under the terms of a framework agreement.

There was an early framework agreement covering the test phase of GOV.UK Verify (RIP). Then, on 25 March 2015, GDS announced that they had Framework 2 up and running. There were to be nine "identity providers". PayPal never showed up and Verizon have disappeared so, in the event, there are just seven. Those seven "identity providers" have trouble registering more than about 70% of applicants. Even where an application succeeds, it is unclear how reliable the identity is.

The contract notice for Framework 2 is available on OJEU, the Official Journal of the EU: "The Government's aim is that all the central government services that need identity assurance for individuals will be using GOV.UK Verify [RIP] by March 2016". That didn't happen.

The contracts under Framework 2 last for a maximum of four years. If the registration of adults in the UK is going to take 119 years – please see above – then we must expect it to end under Framework 30.

Updated 12:43

Framework 1 was valued at a ridiculously low £25 million + VAT.

Framework 2 was valued at £150 million: "Estimated value excluding VAT: 150 000 000 GBP". In a UK population of 50,908,702 adults, that's about £2.95 of assurance per person.

Suppose the next 28 framework agreements are valued at the same £150 million. That takes the total for all 30 frameworks to £4,375 million.

We know from the Framework 2 contract notice that: "This procurement competition is managed on behalf of the Contracting Authority by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS)".

We know from a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) that: "... This reduction in CCS’s income will be offset by an increase to an existing levy that suppliers pay when they provide services under CCS frameworks ... The levy is currently around 0.5% and will become around 0.9% of the costs of services provided under CCS frameworks" (para.3.5, p.47). So over the course of the 30 framework agreements, CCS would expect to rake off between £21.875 million commission at ½% and £39.375 million at 0.9%, call it £40 million in round numbers.

That may seem like a relatively small amount of money but, given that the NAO find that CCS add no value whatever, it's a waste: "it is not possible to show that CCS has achieved more than departments would otherwise have achieved by buying common goods and services themselves".

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