March 1, 2012. The EU Tenders Portal posted today a tender notice from the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) related to the launch of identity assurance (IDA) services. The objective is to create a marketplace of suppliers utilizing agreed open standards. Citizens will be able to choose one of the providers to authenticate themselves when accessing online public services. Identity assurance suppliers will be selected in summer 2012 and systems will need to be fully operational from spring 2013. The tender notice is available at http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:68791-2012:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0
In parallel the Royal Mail Group has announced it would be tendering for hardware and software which will enable it to become a provider of IDA services. According to a Computer Weekly story the UK Post Office is searching for a technology partner, and intends “to provide identity assurance services across online, telephony and face-to-face channels, throughout its branch network and brand”.
IDA is a key part of the UK government’s move to “digital by default” public services.The 2011 Open Public Services White Paper set out a new approach of “government services wherever you are”, aiming to accelerate the digitization of public services, creating new opportunities for technological innovation and removing the current barriers to digital delivery. This follows the “Directgov 2010 and Beyond” report that stated that digital public service delivery will provide better services for citizens, and has the potential to deliver savings of more than GBP 1.3bn a year.
A replay of an interesting January 2012 World Bank webcast with the Minister for the Cabinet Office on the UK’s experience of open data and government is available at http://live.worldbank.org/liveblog-webcast-open-government-and-transparency-uk-experience