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?

 

Last lifeline to avoid a HMRC fine

Quick, quick get moving on filing your self assessment tax form because the deadline is Tuesday 31st January 2017. Last January 2016 some  890,000* individuals filed their return late. There’s a £100 fine for late filing. Submit your tax return on time to avoid having to pay late fines and penalties. No one wants a case of the January blues this month courtesy of HMRC.

There are two ways to get started.

The old way – no haste by post

You can choose to register your account with Government Gateway which many people have already done. The first part of your pin will be revealed online while the other part will be sent to you in the post. This could take days and even up to a whole week.

What if you have a Government Gateway but no password?

You may have used Government Gateway before but having all the access details you need to hand may not be that simple. It’s all too easy to misplace codes and passwords you rarely use.

Instead of getting dizzy trying to remember your identity code or the complicated PIN number, why not use SecureIdentity and GOV.UK Verify to create an online account.

The new way – quick as an app

If you have not created an online account to access government services, you could use SecureIdentity. With us creating an online account will only take 10 to 15 minutes – you could start your self assessment today and file before the 31st January deadline. We are one of 7 certified companies that can verify your identity through GOV.UK Verify

All you need to get started are your main forms of identity (passport, driving licence, bank statements), your smart-phone and the SecureIdentity simple sign-in app. You should be able to create your account in about 10 to 15 mins by answering some questions.

Once you’re verified you can use your SecureIdentity to access other online government services too. Eventually using Verify will be the preferred method of accessing government services at GOV.UK for most people. So by using GOV.UK Verify now you’re saving yourself time later. Over time all government services will be going digital and Government Gateway will be phased out.

So get started on your self assessment form now.

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.