Identity Assurance: Who, where, when?

Toby Stevens writes for Computer Weekly about the forthcoming government Identity Assurance scheme:

The government’s Identity Assurance programme has finally announced its eighth candidate Identity Provider, in the form of PayPal; the announcement had been delayed pending the completion of PayPal’s contract negotiations. This completes the ecosystem of potential providers who may develop certified identity systems for use within the Department for Work & Pensions’ first tranche of providers who will support the early deliveries of Universal Credit. Other government departments – most notably HMRC – are likely to use this same framework for their early implementations.

Over the next few weeks I’ll try, as best I can, to clarify some of the uncertainties and to dispel some of the emerging myths about what Identity Assurance really is. There will inevitably be some threads at the end of which, if we pull hard enough, we’ll find a non-disclosure agreement which prevents too much detail, but that shouldn’t hinder a discussion about the key points. Throughout this dialogue it is essential to bear in mind that we are discussing an emerging, immature market: this is the start of delivery, not the finished product. There are still many unknowns. DWP is not procuring a big Systems Integration deal in the expectation of a polished system being delivered (when did that ever happen?) later this year, but is instead defining the parameters for a new market within which the providers will compete for identity business.