The modern alternative to Government Gateway

GOV.UK Verify is the new way to prove who you are when you’re accessing secure government services online. It’s the latest innovation in the UK Government’s digital story that started at the end of the last century.

The origins of digital government and the rise of the Government Gateway

To really set the scene let’s remember what online looked like at the turn of the millennium.

The year is 2000. The world has just dodged the IT meltdown we all expected from the millennium bug and the average office worker is now using email at work almost every day. Digital pioneers dine out on stories that they have ordered books online from something called Amazon.com and a social network called FriendsReunited is about to launch and change the way we think about the internet forever. Facebook is yet to be invented.

It’s in this smartphone free, unconnected world that the UK Government introduces the world’s most ambitious digital change strategy of its time.

The vision was to have 100 per cent of government services online by 2005.

The vision

The Government wanted to create a centralised service for all e-Government services in the UK. This would allow citizens to access multiple public services online. No government in the world was doing more to meet the anticipated demand for digital.

The first version of Government Gateway’s registration and enrolment service was launched in 2001. The first fully operational service available allowed the UK’s first digital citizens to file tax returns online.

A model system

By 2007, with 11 million users, Government Gateway had established its place as a word-class example of digital government service delivery.  The Gateway was handling 20 million transactions across different departments every year and counting.

The positive sentiment continued. Copycat systems started to appear in other parts of the world such as the Czech Republic.

By 2012, Government Gateway had exceeding even its own expectations. It allowed UK citizens to access 166 services across a total of 55 government departments. The UK government had created a digital environment that supported a staggering 50 million users.

GOV.UK Verify launches

Now if you wish to access government services online the new way is to use GOV.UK Verify.

The Cabinet Office started work on the GOV.UK Verify system in 2011 (back then it was known as the Identity Assurance Programme, or IDAP).  Between 2011 and May 2016 the system went through a phase of  private, then public Betas to become the live public service we know today.

GOV.UK Verify is designed to deliver the simple secure online experience that today’s internet user expects. To use services at GOV.UK, UK citizens just need to set up an identity account with a certified identity provider like SecureIdentity. Unlike the old registration process used at Government Gateway, registering is completed online without the need to wait for any passwords or login details in the post.

You can see all the services available to GOV.UK Verify users here. More services are joining GOV.UK Verify all the time so if you’ve already registered for SecureIdentity and you’re finding it useful, expect to find it even more useful as new services are added.

Read more: why replace Government gateway?

 

It’s time to take your selfie seriously

Remember when selfies were just about silly faces and holiday views? Well, not anymore.

We’ve just added selfie check technology to the SecureIdentity registration process. It’s a new option that allows you to set up your SecureIdentity account even faster.

Here’s how it works

The selfie check technology uses the phone’s camera to scan your passport’s photo page. Just after that you’re asked to take a selfie. Your selfie is matched with the official passport photo by our state of the art selfie check technology.

Why are we introducing selfie checks?

The biometric technology we use to deliver the selfie check helps us keep the best security in the word accessible and convenient to use.

SecureIdentity is powered by Safran, the word leader in Government ID. Over the years and around the world, our business has been developing new technologies designed to help people do more secure things online simply.

Last year, when we created the SecureIdentity Simple Sign-in app, our goal was to make accessing government services more straightforward and more secure. In a world where we routinely use the internet to shop, check our bank details or book our holidays, the traditional ways to access government services seemed outdated and complex. The SecureIdentity Simple Sign-in app changed all of that.

Creating your SecureIdentity account takes just a few minutes. If you’re not the kind of person that wants to fast-track your registration with a selfie check, we’ll simply ask you a few more questions to complete the process in minutes. It’s swift, straightforward and secure.

Once you’re registered, you can use the Simple Sign-in app to access any Government service via GOV.UK Verify. Just enter your email and PIN into the app and you’re in.

To register for SecureIdentity using a secure selfie just:

  • Download the SecureIdentity app from the iOS or Android app store.
  • Open the app to start the registration. You will be asked to choose a four digit PIN number.
  • Scan in the photo page of your passport then take a selfie.

Download the app and try it for yourself

 

A new digital user experience via GOV.Verify

The online environment has evolved rapidly in the last 16 years from when Government Gateway first began. Users now have a whole new set of expectations when it comes to the internet.

Nowadays social media and online shopping are a daily habit. The power of brands like Amazon, Facebook and MoneySupermarket has changed user experiences dramatically and continues to do so.

Amazon allows one click buying with its subscription service delivery times have been reduced to overnight or same-day delivery. When picking products you’re now given reviews and examples of similar products bought by other customers. This was unimaginable 16 years ago.

Facebook allows you to customise the news you see, it has a chat service and gives you the option of creating events, re-posting memories in the form of past status postings, and the options are ever increasing.

Comparison sites with the breadth of information that MoneySupermarket provides did not exist 16 years ago. Nowadays using a comparison site to change for example a utility provider has become commonplace whereas before that kind of digital competition was not possible.

These are just three examples of how digital user journeys with their personalisation and ease of use have become a standard. The Government must recreate a similar experience for public sector services to keep apace with private sector.

Now it’s possible to book a flight on your commute, switch electricity providers in a lunchtime and to video call your friends abroad using an online messaging service. The private sector rapid progress has bought into question the ease and personalisation of Government Gateway user experiences. Whereas previously just being able to use a service online was the most anyone expected.

Principally Government Gateway requires citizens to register for different online services separately. The process usually involved receiving a code through the post and having half revealed online. There is also a separate user ID. All a bit cumbersome. Citizen blogger Paul Clarke neatly sums it up as being, “not quite a seamless electronic transaction”. Nowadays anything that isn’t as easy as one-click shopping is going to be questioned by consumers who are accustomed to easy-to-use systems.

Clarke points out that the reliance on the post is a hindrance especially in the lead up up to the self assessment deadline January 31st. He says, “In the days leading up to Jan 31st the post seems to move very slowly indeed. And you might lose that 12-digit number in the meantime”. The fragmented aspect of registration seems particularly antiquated.

Issues with Government Gateway were also raised by the National Audit Office (NAO) who said: ‘”The Government Gateway provides only limited levels of identity assurance and, without further investment, its weaknesses will be increasingly exposed and under attack. Extending the gateway’s life will delay the delivery of the digital by default agenda which needs higher levels of identity assurance.”

No sooner had these issues been raised that the Financial Times newspaper suggested the Government Gateway had been hacked. It pointed at profiles containing information shared by HM Revenues and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions as being compromised. However as reported by website government computing the government rejected that there had been a widespread breach of its online system. The story highlighted how the system was vulnerable.

With user experience having changed drastically along with weaknesses highlighted by the NAO, Government Gateway is long overdue a change to be brought up-to-date. This brings us to GOV.UK Verify the new secure identity authentication service allowing citizens to access public sector online services. The UK government strives to move with the technology market and keep a digital first mindset. GOV.UK Verify has most importantly introduced competition to the secure identity market by allowing citizens to choose from nine verification services.

Each verification service provider has been approved by the government. As citizens now have nine companies to choose from, it is in the best interests of everyone to provide the most full-proof secure service possible. At SecureIdentity we have over 20 years experience in providing secure identities to governments, institutions and security services. We just haven’t been customer facing so our parent company Morpho is one you may not have heard of.

GOV.UK Verify allows citizens to register once with their chosen provider. Once authenticated, citizens can sign into any number of online government services. This has been seen as providing added security as reported in www.V3.co.uk, “Information is not stored centrally, and there’s no unnecessary sharing of information. The company you choose doesn’t know which service you’re trying to access, and the government department doesn’t know which company you choose.”

SecureIdentity makes proving your identity easy with a simple sign-in app that even gives you the option of using a selfie to sign into services. We are continuously innovating, it’s why we have remained in the market for the last two decades. And we look forward to helping citizens authenticate their identities through GOV.UK Verify.

 

How to save money with company car tax bands

An environmentally friendly company car fleet will reduce the negative impact on the planet and reduce your tax bill as new company car tax bands are introduced.

From the tax year 2020/21 there will be 15 new bandings for taxing a car, with 11 bands for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).

The government has designed the new bandings to encourage the take-up of the cleanest electric and hybrid cars.

HMRC is proposing a new company car tax band with 50m/km as the new threshold for ULEVs. The ULEV CO2 emissions value consists of the capacity for zero emission miles and the level of CO2 produced when the car runs on a conventional combustion engine.

For the best tax breaks: if given the choice, opt for a ULEV. These vehicles will be given favourable, lower tax rates soon, although the exact rate has yet to be finalised.

Use SecureIdentity to check the company car tax band you are paying now.

It’s taken 20 years to create SecureIdentity for GOV.UK Verify

Barclays, Paypal, The Post Office, Experian: these are just some of the household names available to you when you need to choose a certified supplier and access the services you need on GOV.UK.

SecureIdentity by Morpho is a bit different. We don’t spread our expertise across lots of services. We don’t do retail, banking, consumer credit or credit checking services. Keeping your personal details safe and secure in the digital world is all we do and we’ve been doing this for more people in more places for over 20 years.

If you haven’t heard of us already it’s because Morpho has traditionally been a company that’s worked for the world’s major governments, institutions and security services behind the scenes.  Think of us as the security  ‘engine’ that powers privacy in today’s networked world. 

  • We’ve already secured over 2.5 billion identities for citizens around the world
  • We’re the world’s No 1 provider of driving licences
  • More than 50 of the world’s governments already use our services to keep private details secure for citizens
  • We employ over 8,600 people in more than 50 countries

We provide reassurance

We’re backed by more than 20 years of experience. We’re extensively involved with government schemes where identity and security is at the top of the agenda – helping citizens to interact with official organisations in the knowledge that their valuable personal data is safe.

We provide the systems that deliver this reassurance – across the public sector as well as for financial institutions and government security services.

  • We authenticate 20 million digital signatures a year
  • We trace and archive 50 million transactions every day
  • We produce more than 2 million smart cards a day

You know us better than you think

The chances are, if you’ve got a mobile phone, or you’ve bought online or in-store with a credit card, or you’ve passed through passport control, we’ve been working behind the scenes to make sure your personal details are safe and your financial transactions are secure. Now, with the launch of SecureIdentity by Morpho, the world’s most established government grade identity systems are in your hands. 

Why replace Government Gateway with GOV.UK Verify?

The government has been looking closely at how the new connected world can enable improved, more straightforward access to government services for UK citizens. It has also been looking closely at online security; how it can best handle people’s personal information sensitively and provide the reassurance that their data is safe when they enter it online.

Making it all easier and more secure

The entry point to local and national government services – the way you got in and were asked to prove who you were – has traditionally been through the Government Gateway. You might already have used it. If you have, then you may well be one of the 65% of people who say that, getting access to the government services you need today is  a bit tedious. The multi-stage approach to proving who you are on the Government Gateway was appropriate when the system was launched some years ago, but now it needs a refresh. The Government Gateway scheme is now being gradually replaced by GOV.UK Verify, which aims to provide a faster and more secure service, for most of its previous functions.

Providing better digital service

For about 15 years this entry system – where you sign in and prove you are who you say you are –  worked how it was supposed to, but the world around us has changed.

How we connect and interact with online services has changed. Now we thrive on getting things done quicker, in a secure online environment, with far less hassle:

Faster

We all expect faster responses when we’re online. We demand easier access, and less fuss. Technology has made it all possible. You can shop online, run your bank account online, book flights, arrange holidays, pay bills.

There’s no reason why your interactions with government services can’t be just as smooth and straightforward as they are with any other organisation you connect with online.

Safer

This is the main reason why the government has engaged with a range of leading technology firms.

Using external expert companies is going to make sure that the procedures you go through when you prove who you are at GOV.UK  are always at the cutting edge of smart technology and that that latest advancements in secure online verification will always be freely available to people when they use the new Government services portal. This makes everything more straightforward.

Simpler

Today we expect to achieve much more online. Our expectations of what should be able to do when we access Government service via the web is much more joined up.

We want straightforward access to the entitlements that are due to us (like tax credits or benefits) and when we need things from other Government departments (like a new passport or a visa) we expect the relationships we have already established with one aspect of Government to speed up our requests and help us get what we need faster. The new GOV.UK Verify process enables you to register and prove who you are  once and after that, never have to jump through the same hoops again.

In a nutshell, this is what UK GOV Verify has been designed and built to offer – simple and secure access; taking the hassle out of using the numerous services you call upon through various government departments – from passport renewals to benefits and tax returns through to registering births, deaths, and marriages. All these things have to be done – now they’re just going to be easier to do.

We’re building Britain’s most comprehensive Q&A resource to help you make informed decisions about the certified company you choose to verify your identity at GOV.UK

Accessing the government services we need online is getting easier. Soon there’ll be no need to fill in paper forms, no more waiting for security codes to arrive in the post and no need to apply for access to one service at a time. One login is all you need.

The new GOV.UK Verify process takes about 10 minutes. You’ll need to have some documents to hand, like your passport and driving licence to complete the one time verification process but after that, verifying who you are at GOV.UK takes just few seconds.

When you first use the new service, one of the first things you’ll notice is that, in order to prove who you are at GOV.UK, you’re asked to verify your identity by setting up an account with one of several private security services. Nine different companies are allowed to offer the verification service you need to get online. Morpho is one of them and our GOV.UK Verify service is called SecureIdentity.

When we developed SecureIdentity we wanted to be sure that the service we offered was driven by real insights from people just like you. That’s why, over the course of this summer, we’ve asked nearly 3,000 people to tell us exactly what they expect from the certified verification provider they choose.

You learn a lot when you ask 3,000 UK Citizens about the new verification process for GOV.UK Verify, and over the next few weeks we’ll be exploring all your most frequently asked questions in this blog and developing our easy-to-use Q&A resource.

If you have questions about why, when and how you should choose a certified verification provider to help you get online and manage the government services you need, ask them in our growing FAQ section. We’ll make sure they’re answered as soon as our interactive Q&A goes live. Meanwhile, take a look at the top three most frequently asked questions people like you have about GOV.UK and the new verify process.