Since responsibility for digital identity policy-making passed from the Government Digital Service (GDS) to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), both UK government departments have had very different remits for boosting digital economy – within government systems and advancing accessibility of identity initiatives. 

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change’s recent “Great Enabler” report, commented:

“Public services in the UK don’t require reform. They need transformation”.

Natalie Jones OBE spoke at Identity Week Europe 2023 on leading the GDS’ digital transformation, which employs 700 people to build, develop and run the 340 digital systems.

While focusing on reducing costs to taxpayers and streamlining digital services, all operated by different service teams across government, the main priority of the GDS is delivering a unified citizen verification portal called One Login. One Login will significantly transform 200 government departments – with more than 190 ways to set up accounts and 44 sign-in methods – into a federated, single login system which secures citizen data autonomy with the individual, and not the government.

In her keynote speech, Natalie explained the myriad of data models leveraged by the GDS for usability and minding privacy, undertaking a “transformative programme of work” from concept and scoping to full delivery.

Prioritising inclusion is also a cornerstone of the GDS’s role to underpin seamless access to government services with secure architecture, which has uncovered a lack of users with formal ID.

While the digital-identity policy function has shifted to the DCMS, the digital service has played a role in the provision of formal ID like biometric resident permits and driving licenses to login to apps that will migrate verifiable users to access a government service.

In the continuous pipeline, the GDS is currently seeking an infrastructure partner and developing cost efficiency of its services with agility.