Most of these 12 services also offered alternatives to Verify.
As the NAO report commented: “Nine of the 12 services using GOV.
UK Verify can now be accessed using both Verify and a department’s chosen way of allowing users to log-in to services.
This parallel access undermines the current business case and risks creating confusion for service users.” Far from helping improve the user experience of online services, Verify’s failure to provide trusted identity assurance across government services has resulted in the fragmentation of the user experience – the very opposite of what it originally set out to achieve.
“In 2014, GDS expected over 100 departmental services to be using Verify by 2016.
In October 2016, GDS predicted that 43 services would be using Verify by April 2018. None of the nine services that were in the pipeline for connecting to Verify during the remainder of 2016 was ready to do so by that date,” said the NAO report.
Despite its original worthy aspirations, Verify is displaying the worrying and familiar symptoms of a troubled government programme.
It’s running significantly behind schedule and de-scoped, and possibly over budget - although this is difficult to determine since, as the NAO report noted, “…before 2016-17 GDS did not split its staff costs into specific programmes”.
When citizens who manage to get a Verify credential then try to use it with online government services, they can encounter additional problems.Part of the problem is that the Verify platform only caters for individual citizens, failing to meet many other well-known user needs.It offers no support for example for intermediaries acting on someone else’s behalf (essential for everyone from those with Power of Attorney to accountants to carers), and nothing for business users either.Departments often fail to match Verify data with the data they hold – no great surprise since government services typically hold citizens’ data in a different form to that used by the Verify commercial companies.According to the NAO, in February 2017 Verify had just 1.1 million user accounts.Verify formally entered live service in May 2016, having appeared as a beta service in October 2014.By the time of its live implementation, Verify was nearly four years behind schedule and working with just 12 services.This includes 185,000 “basic” accounts created as part of a trial in July 2015.These basic accounts are unverified and do not allow account holders to access live services.“User accounts” is not the same as “users” - citizens may have an account with more than one Verify identity provider.What these figures suggest is that by February 2017, some six years in, Verify had not even reached the one million user threshold.