GDS chief on how to avoid new government login confirm mistakes

Texas News Today

credit: Crown Copyright / Open Government License v3.0

The CEO of Government Digital Services outlined some of the major mistakes made in providing identity verification tools and how their duplication can be avoided by working on the new government-wide platform.

Tom Reid, who last week attended the Public Expenditure Committee before a member of parliament, was asked to give an example of where and why an agile approach to service development works. Agile methods favor flexibility and short-term goals, rather than having grand plans and setting final goals at the beginning of a project.

As an example of the benefits of taking an agile approach, read “What didn’t work with Validation and what worked with OneLogin”.

Verification allows citizens to prove their identity to access certain government services. The services that allow you to apply for Universal Credit are the biggest users of the security platform.


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The verification process is done by an external provider. The rank of external providers has dropped from 7 to 2 in the last two years. Garima and Post Office.

Reid told MP that a model of “complete separation” between the service and the verification process was set early in the process without a full test of its effectiveness.

“The validation program involved a technology approach and overall design from the start,” he said. “The founding principle was to use an external provider to prove one’s identity. [who will] Then say “yes” or “no” to return to service. It is very helpful in protecting the data of citizens. But what didn’t is a good iterative test to see if it works with real users. It turns out that it doesn’t work for about half of the users who use it. “

The One Login program aims to replace scores of other existing sign-in processes currently used between departments for providing access to services as well as verification.

In developing new platforms, GDS works closely with other governments to design systems tailored to their needs and citizens’ needs, rather than setting and taking a predetermined approach. I am aiming to do this.

Instead, we are working with government departments to say at the forefront of the department: “Learn more about how users work,” Reid said. Create a solution that works for these sets of users. ‘. Then move on to the next set of users and see if it works. If that doesn’t work, you need a spindle and you’ll need a slightly different solution. “

He continued: “We’ve already seen that if we were making technical decisions from the start, we’re already completely wrong. Anyone with a passport, driver’s license, or cell phone. We’ve already seen that. There are other users who don’t have any of them, and they lead very messy and chaotic lives.And our agile iterative approach has proved that we need completely different solutions for those different types of users We can build and deploy them over and over again and stop or replace them along the way.”

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The creation of the OneLogin platform (also known as the GOV.UK account) was announced a year ago.

Verify funding has been extended until April 2023, but work continues on the next system, which is scheduled to launch next year.

According to Reed, One Login aims to address “three key issues.”

“First of all, the interaction between citizens and the government is very disruptive. We need to understand the structure of the government and what different departments offer to find the right services,” he added. “So it creates confusion. and deprives citizens of their rights.”

The second issue is the time taken to validate information provided by the public. At the moment, this may take several months.

“User dissatisfaction is on the rise. In the consumer world, we don’t have to wait 14 weeks for a credit card decision,” Reid says.

The third issue that the login system is trying to address is “the need for governments to make things cheaper and more efficient.”

“”[We can also] Show people what data we have and how they relate to different government sectors,” the GDS director said. “And if it works for the user and they’re happy to make the user journey more efficient, we don’t pretend to know nothing when the user comes in. I want to start using the data the user has.” I will ask you to submit your passport or residence certificate.”

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