Scottish Government maps out online ID assurance service

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it plans to build an online ID assurance service for use across the country’s public sector.

The news was confirmed in a blog post that the government plans to work with stakeholders, privacy interests and members of the public to develop a robust, secure and trustworthy mechanism by which an individual member of the public can demonstrate their identity online, to access public sector digital services.

The objectives of the programme were confirmed as:

  1. To develop a common approach to online identity assurance and authentication for access to public services, that supports the landscape and direction for digital public services delivery.
  2. To develop a solution that is designed with and for members of the public (service users) and that stakeholders can support.
  3. To develop a solution that works: is safe, secure, effective, proportionate, easy to use, and accessible; and forms part of public sector digital services.
  4. To develop a solution where members of the public can be confident that their privacy is being protected.
  5. To develop a solution that brings value for money and efficiencies in the delivery of digital public services.
  6. To develop a solution that can evolve and flex with changes that occur in the future (future proofed), e.g. changing in response to new technologies

According to the Programme Plan timeline, the discovery phase of the project is set to run from January to March 2018. However, to continue past discovery, further funding would need to be identified for 2018-19.



The service design element will aim to identify the problem that an online identity assurance solution might address. This includes exploring the user journey and identification of user concerns and needs and will involve user research and co-design, in conjunction with design partners.

The technical discovery element aims to identify the technical options for identity assurance, including fit with the service provider landscape. This will be done together with technical partners and is expected to include exploration of existing solutions such as Scotland’s ‘myaccount’ (or potential modified versions of it) and UK Verify, and options from elsewhere, including emerging technologies.


Stakeholder group

A new National Stakeholder Group is planned to meet during the discovery, alongside delivery of a range of sector specific actions within the stakeholder plan (e.g. with privacy interests, experts and public sector providers, including public bodies, health, social security, local government and the Improvement Service). The expectation is that this work is conducted in the spirit and practice of open government.

This group is proposed to include:

  • Service providers, including public bodies and local authorities
  • Privacy groups
  • Industry experts
  • Information Commissioner’s Office Scotland (ICO)
  • Third sector, e.g. SCVO
  • National Records of Scotland (NRS)
  • Improvement Service
  • National Entitlement Card partners (e.g. Transport Scotland and Young Scot)
  • Scottish Government Ingage Team (for Open Government)

The project will be overseen by a programme board, led by Holyrood’s director of digital Colin Cook.

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