Today the cross-Government Identity Assurance programme sanctioned DWP to publish a tender to procure Identity services for all of Government. The notice appears here in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), and marks the start of the formal process to create a market of identity services for access to digital public services. Commercially, it means that the potential cost of procuring services for the cross-government Identity Assurance (IDA) programme has been slashed from £240m to £30m.
Last October Francis Maude announced the move of the Identity Assurance Programme into the new Government Digital Service. We have since built a new team and delivery plan and a working governance structure to implement Identity Assurance solutions strategically across government.
GDS has been working closely with DWP to revise the OJEU and agree it with other Departments. In the first instance, IDA digital services will be used to support Universal Credit and the Personal Independence Payment, which from 2013 will replace DWP’s current benefit system.
The IDA programme supports the Government’s “digital by default” policy – part of its strategy for 21st century ICT with digitally delivered public services offering greater convenience for users, better value for money for tax payers, and cost-saving opportunities for a wider range of public service providers.
The changes are mostly commercial: identity assurance is evolving rapidly so no Department wants to be locked into a long contract. Instead, the OJEU has a duration of 18 months.
We have separated the channel delivery – phone, internet and face to face – to ensure the OJEU attracts SME’s with specialisms in each channel and we want to encourage as many SME’s as possible to participate in the tender process.
Government Procurement Services
The revised DWP OJEU notice is effectively an HMG-wide framework being delivered initially using DWP as the vehicle. We will then introduce wider HMG needs into this first draft and cut/paste the whole approach into GPS. This approach ensures that, ultimately, HMG-wide Identity Assurance is supplied across central departments via a common procurement portal (to HMG agreed standards) and governed by the Cabinet Office.
Creating a trust infrastructure is an exciting challenge. It is a complicated subject and won’t be delivered overnight. We will build the infrastructure incrementally and no doubt get things wrong as we do. But we will learn from our mistakes. The most important part will be remaining constantly focused on user need to achieve success.
We will also share as much of the process as we can and will be updating this blog on a regular basis with updates on the progress of the programme.