VerifyLocal to test prototypes on users

Programme to take identity assurance platform to local government moves into alpha phase

Efforts to take the GOV.UK Verify platform into local government services have moved forward with plans to test prototypes emerging from the discovery phase with users.

The VerifyLocal team outlined the plans at an event in London yesterday, saying it is effectively taking the programme into its alpha phase following two groups of discovery pilots.

Verify has been developed by the Government Digital Service (GDS) to provide an online identity assurance mechanism, but is so far used only in a small number of central government services. The VerifyLocal team has been working on extending it to local government since the middle of last year.

The discovery phase has involved the team working with 15 local authorities on how the platform can be used in proving identities for concessionary travel passes and residential parking permits, and reached the stage where they are developing tools for wider use.

These can be used for user research, service design, technical guidance and to outline the benefits of adopting Verify.

Move to private beta

VerifyLocal said it is now aiming to test the prototypes with users, with councils building their testing and development environments. Once these meet the Digital Service Standard and local authority teams have shown they can configure the services effectively, the team will begin the private beta phase.

Michael Clark, head of VerifyLocal, said: “We want to make Verify and future platforms available to local government, and with the pilots we’re doing pioneering work to figure out how we do this.

“This will involve collaboration across a number of organisations and with a load of problems to solve, but it is our first foray into local government and is really exciting.”

Linda O'HalloranLocal pilot lead for the programme, Linda O’Halloran (pictured), said: “We’re committed to publishing at the end of each phase and to making all of our discovery products accessible to user. We’re publishing everything on the internet through the Local Government Digital Coalition.

“We’re working in collaboration with about 12 local authority partners, and to transform the service from end to end in an agile way in parallel with other organisations requires coordination. So we have a project page with a timeline and have all the key information about each pilot available on it.”

She added that the project timeline will be “tweaked” at times, reflecting the agile approach to the programme.