The modern alternative to Government Gateway

GOV.UK Verify is the new way to prove who you are when you’re accessing secure government services online. It’s the latest innovation in the UK Government’s digital story that started at the end of the last century.

The origins of digital government and the rise of the Government Gateway

To really set the scene let’s remember what online looked like at the turn of the millennium.

The year is 2000. The world has just dodged the IT meltdown we all expected from the millennium bug and the average office worker is now using email at work almost every day. Digital pioneers dine out on stories that they have ordered books online from something called Amazon.com and a social network called FriendsReunited is about to launch and change the way we think about the internet forever. Facebook is yet to be invented.

It’s in this smartphone free, unconnected world that the UK Government introduces the world’s most ambitious digital change strategy of its time.

The vision was to have 100 per cent of government services online by 2005.

The vision

The Government wanted to create a centralised service for all e-Government services in the UK. This would allow citizens to access multiple public services online. No government in the world was doing more to meet the anticipated demand for digital.

The first version of Government Gateway’s registration and enrolment service was launched in 2001. The first fully operational service available allowed the UK’s first digital citizens to file tax returns online.

A model system

By 2007, with 11 million users, Government Gateway had established its place as a word-class example of digital government service delivery.  The Gateway was handling 20 million transactions across different departments every year and counting.

The positive sentiment continued. Copycat systems started to appear in other parts of the world such as the Czech Republic.

By 2012, Government Gateway had exceeding even its own expectations. It allowed UK citizens to access 166 services across a total of 55 government departments. The UK government had created a digital environment that supported a staggering 50 million users.

GOV.UK Verify launches

Now if you wish to access government services online the new way is to use GOV.UK Verify.

The Cabinet Office started work on the GOV.UK Verify system in 2011 (back then it was known as the Identity Assurance Programme, or IDAP).  Between 2011 and May 2016 the system went through a phase of  private, then public Betas to become the live public service we know today.

GOV.UK Verify is designed to deliver the simple secure online experience that today’s internet user expects. To use services at GOV.UK, UK citizens just need to set up an identity account with a certified identity provider like SecureIdentity. Unlike the old registration process used at Government Gateway, registering is completed online without the need to wait for any passwords or login details in the post.

You can see all the services available to GOV.UK Verify users here. More services are joining GOV.UK Verify all the time so if you’ve already registered for SecureIdentity and you’re finding it useful, expect to find it even more useful as new services are added.

Read more: why replace Government gateway?

Key, locks and now online security from High St shop

Are you a digital ID pioneer?

If you’re using SecureIdentity to access government services online you’re an early adopter of digital identity. Here’s a quick look at how everyday life might change as more people come to understand the benefits of secure digital ID.

Lot’s of people feel familiar with the idea of digital identity because they already do so many things online. They use the internet for: banking, shopping and even socialising. People have up to 27 secure logins that allow them to quickly prove who they are to the companies they regularly do business with.

Digital identity pioneers think differently about ID

This new generation of identity is different. It’s not about being able to prove who you are on a case-by-case basis, one day with your bank the next with your favourite online shopping site. It’s about being able to prove who you are quickly day-in, day-out.

When you have this advanced degree of digital identity it becomes much easier to do lots of important things quickly and easily. But it’s still very new, so sometimes it’s difficult to understand exactly how secure digital identities will improve things.  

Using SecureIdentity to access government services via GOV.UK Verify is an early example of what to expect. Instead of having to register for secure online access to one government service at a time, SecureIdentity lets you access lots of government services using exactly the same process.  But as the idea of digital identity grows what else can we expect to see change?

Timpson holds the key

The High Street retailer Timpson is one company that’s been early to see the potential that this new type of digital identity will bring.

It’s probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of digital identity services. But when you think about it, Timpson’s customers already go there for their passport pictures and key copies. And if you’re ever unfortunate enough to lock yourself out of your home, Timpson’s is probably the locksmith you trust to get you back in safely. They are the shop you go to for security and keeping things safe.

Over the past few months Timpson has been working with people in the digital identity industry to create and trial lots of the new digital services that citizens will soon need.

This is uncharted territory but founder John Timpson is very clear on how important he feels it is that individuals remain in control of their digital identities. It must be the individual’s choice as to who has access to their secure documents and data. Individuals must be able to share their verified documents easily with the people they want to see them whenever the need arises.

First, Timpson are looking at creating a face-to-face service where branch colleagues will help people through the process of creating their own digital Identity. Timpson believe that about 10% of people would rather go to the High Street to get personal help when they want to create their digital identity. So, as more people want digital identities, Timpson will be there to keep the process simple for those who’d rather not go online alone.

The family lockbox goes online

They’re also mindful that as more of our important documents go digital, people will want a safe place to store them. That’s why they’ve come up with the idea of an online digital vault. It’s a hyper secure online place where we can safely keep the digital versions of things like our birth certificate, marriage licence or mortgage agreement.

Since more of the important documents we’re issued with are going digital everyday, Timpson expects the digital alternative to become more popular. A digital vault will become the alternative to the family lockbox where most people store their important paper documents today.

Over the years, shops like Timpson have always been there to help us manage our everyday security needs. As these needs go digital, it’s only natural that all kinds of retailers start offering new products and services for the digital identity owning citizen.

Help your friends or family with their tax affairs

Tax returns and other Government services have gone digital, which can be daunting for some people, especially the elderly, disabled, infirm or vulnerable who may be reluctant to go online themselves.

You can help friends and family access the Government services they need online by becoming a “trusted helper”.

A trusted helper can:

  • confirm that their friend or family member’s Income Tax assessment is correct
  • update or check their friend or family member’s personal tax account
  • claim their friend or family member’s tax refund
  • check their friend or family member’s company car tax

You can be a trusted helper for up to 5 people using SecureIdentity and GOV.UK.

Here’s how it works

If you already have a SecureIdentity just use your Simple Sign-in app to login. If you don’t already have a SecureIdentity you can create one in 10 to 15 minutes. Just choose SecureIdentity when you’re asked to select a certified company to verify your identity at GOV.UK Verify).

After verifying your identity, you’ll need the following details for each individual that you will be helping:

  • first name and surname
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number

The person that you are helping will need to verify their identity on GOV.UK Verify. They will have to sign in to their account and accept you as a ‘trusted helper’.

Remember that even if you are helping someone with their tax, they are still responsible for their own taxes.

More about becoming a trusted helper

What is Universal Credit? We explain all

Universal Credit is the new benefit which is being introduced nationwide. It’s part of the Government’s overhaul of the welfare system.

The six credits that Universal Credit is replacing are:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

How much?

The benefits calculator on the GOV.UK website estimates what benefit contributions you are entitled to.

And here’s our summary of how Universal Credit will affect claimants:

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

The first payment is made after seven days. A Claimant Commitment will detail the tasks you will need to complete to remain eligible for payments. And you will have to attend regular appointments at the Jobcentre.

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

With Universal Credit, claimants no longer have a cap on the number of hours you can work.

Universal Credit payments will be reduced in relation to the level of your income increase. Universal Credits are reduced gradually and if you are not earning enough you are entitled to top-up contributions.

New rules for young adults aged 18 to 21

From April 2017 Universal Credit claimants in this category will have to attend a Youth Obligation programme for six months. Following this they will be expected to apply for apprenticeships, traineeships or work placements.

Income Support

Universal Credit will eventually replace this benefit.

Working Tax Credits

If you become unemployed and begin claiming Universal Credit your working tax credits will stop. Also, if you begin living with a partner who receives Universal Credit your tax credits will stop as you become joint claimants.

Child Tax Credits

Universal Credits will replace Child Tax Credits, Tax Credits contributing towards childcare plus any additional payments. The additional payments cover contributions you receive towards childcare if you’re working, these can be up to 70% of registered childcare costs.

Housing Benefit

If you rent, your Universal Credit will be paid into your bank account. It will then be your responsibility to pay your landlord. If you receive contributions towards your mortgage repayments the money will paid directly to your mortgage lender.

Also note that once you or your partner starts earning, mortgage contributions will not be included in your Universal Credit.

Information for the self-employed

Universal Credit is not available to the self-employed. But if you are on Universal Credit and then choose to become self-employed you will be supported until your business grows.

The other benefits combined & how it’s worked out

The amount of money you get is calculated through a comparison of your basic financial needs to what you need to live on with your financial resources. These resources include the support you receive towards housing, children, childcare, if you have a disability, or if you are a carer.

Also note that cohabiting partners who are both eligible for Universal Credit will receive one joint, monthly payment.

How to apply

To be eligible you must be a resident in Great Britain, aged 18 years or over and no longer in education. But in exceptional cases you can claim Universal Credit if you are 16 or 17 years old with no parental support.

Claimants must be below Pension Credit age. But if in a couple and one of you is over Pension Credit age, you’ll both need to claim Universal Credit as a couple until you both reach Pension Credit age.

Find a local adviser to receive support and advice from.

When
Here’s a map of when and where Universal Credit is being rolled out.

Where
And here’s a link to create a secure digital identity to claim Universal Credit (limited service).

How to claim your state pension online

Claiming your state pension online is pretty simple. Here we will show you exactly what you need to do.

To claim your State Pension online you must meet the following conditions:

  • be claiming for yourself
  • be within four months of State Pension age, or older
  • not want to defer your State Pension
  • have a National Insurance number
  • have a UK bank, building society or Post Office card account
  • not be receiving, or be in the process of claiming Graduated Retirement Pension, War Widow’s or Widower’s Pension, Bereavement Benefit, Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Income Support, Industrial Death Benefit, Industrial Injuries Disablement Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit or Severe Disablement Allowance

Information you must have to complete your application: 

  • your National Insurance number
  • your current address and postcode, plus your last two addresses
  • your tax reference number (you can find this on HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) forms P45 or P60, or any letter you’ve received from HMRC about tax)
  • if you’re married or in a civil partnership (or have been in the past), you will need to confirm your husband, wife or civil partner’s details (this includes their National Insurance number and the date of your marriage or civil partnership)
  • if you’re divorced or widowed, your civil partnership has dissolved or you’re a surviving civil partner, you’ll need to confirm the date you were divorced or widowed
  • details of any social security benefits or entitlements that you or your husband, wife or civil partner are getting or waiting to hear about
  • the address of any employer you’ve worked for in the last two years, and the dates you worked for them
  • if you’ve ever lived or worked abroad, you should confirm your social security number and the dates you were abroad
  • an account number where you want your State Pension paid

To claim your state pension online go to GOV.UK claim state pension online.

Check your state pension using SecureIdentity and GOV.UK

Just want to check the state pension you’re already claiming? The quickest and easiest way to do this is by using the SecureIdentity Simple-Sign-In app. It’ll take no more than 10 to 15 minutes to complete the process.

Car rental abroad without a counterfoil

The Government has made the driving licence counterpart obsolete. It’s been replaced with the Drivers Summary.  Now the real impact of the change is becoming apparent, especially when you want to rent a car in the UK or abroad.

What’s the change?

The paper based counterfoil was rarely needed. Usually, you’d end up looking for it just before you went on holiday because you might need to rent a car.

The new Drivers Summary does basically the same job as the old counterfoil. The main difference is that the Drivers Summary is valid for just 21 days. For this reason, it’s worth making preparations if you plan to rent a car, or several cars when you are travelling.

Some things to remember

The counterpart is obsolete: it’s no longer accepted anywhere.

The car rental company should ask to see a copy of your summary, or ask you for a driving licence check code so they can access these details themselves online.

If you need to do this while you are travelling, or if you need to rent several cars within a short space of time, the Simple-Sign-In app from SecureIdentity can be handy. It’s an easy way to access the DVLA services you need.

When you use SecureIdentity’s simple sign-in process, you’ll be able to access and share your driving details whenever you want quickly and easily  without having to remember long passwords,

A quick guide to car rental abroad

Here’s our quick guide to car rental abroad and the new Drivers Summary document that more and more car rental companies will be asking you for when you rent in the UK, Europe and worldwide.

In June 2015 the driving licence counterfoil, which records penalty points and fines, became obsolete. Now, to hire a car, you need to provide your driving history by logging onto the GOV.UK website and generating a Drivers Summary (or getting a Drivers Summary code).

It’s a simple process, if you remember your national insurance number and have your driving licence number and postcode. They all need to be entered into the GOV.UK website to obtain a code. You can then use this code once and it’s valid for 21 days.

If you need to hire a car again you have to log-on again to obtain a new code. A driver can have up to 15 check codes active at any one time.

One of the positive points is that anyone can check a driving record once they have been provided with a check code by logging onto https://www.gov.uk/check-driving-information. The driver no longer needs to be physically present to show the driving licence counterfoil.

View or Share your Driving Licence Information the Easy Way

Now you can use SecureIdentity to access this service at GOV.UK. In the past you’ve always needed your driving licence number, national insurance number and your postcode, which may not be details you find easy to remember or always have to hand.

Road blocks
The Drivers Summary system is new. Car rental companies in the UK are familiar with it, but some rental companies abroad may still be coming to terms with the change. It’s worth contacting your chosen car rental firm to confirm whether they are aware of the new system and require a Drivers Summary or your driving details code.

Exceptions
The new law at present is not applicable to driving licences in Northern Ireland or older paper-only licences.

Extras
When you are hiring a car abroad you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) too. This is worth checking before you leave.  Apply for it through the AA, RAC or the Post Office.

If you will be driving in countries beyond the continent do check the Foreign Office website for useful advice.

Beginner’s guide to certified companies and GOV.UK Verify

GOV.UK is the new online home for Government services right? So why aren’t all aspects of it being run by the government? Up until now, the Government hasn’t asked us to choose from a list of private companies when we needed to prove who we were on line, so what’s changed?

Digital access to government services is being overhauled and updated for the 21st Century. If you’ve become used to shopping or banking on line then you’ll like the new processes being introduced at GOV.UK, but you’ll notice some changes and you’ll probably have questions (See our FAQ section).

One of the first things you’ll notice is that you need to choose a “certified company” to verify your identity before you can access the private services you want. This is one aspect of the new system that many people struggle to understand. Over the past six months, as part of our research and development programme for SecureIdentity,  we’ve spoken to thousands of UK citizens. The question of why people are being asked to choose from a list of private companies when they want to verify their ID and access services at GOV.UK comes up time and again.

When you think about it, it’s actually not all that unusual. These days, when you’re shopping on line, it’s pretty common to be directed to a third party once you get to the checkout. Online retailers specialise in the merchandise they sell and the range they offer. They are less well-equipped to guarantee secure credit card transactions, so they usually partner with a specialist like Worldpay or Sage Pay.

You might say the people at GOV.UK think in a similar way. Their commitment is to make sure that the best range of services are always easily available to citizens on line. To make sure that access to these services is always secure and straightforward, they’ve partnered with private companies that have expertise in securing identity online.

Competition delivers greater security

By offering citizens a choice of certified companies, the Government has created a competitive market for ID verification at GOV.UK. This ensures healthy competition and it puts you in control. At SecureIdentity we’re one of nine verification services you can choose from and we understand how critical it is to deliver the secure, straightforward service you need.

Each certified company has a track record in online security solutions or some aspect of online transactions where safeguarding data is a sensitive and critical issue. All of them meet the certification requirements set out by the Government.

Putting you in control

The first time you use GOV.UK Verify to access services, you’ll be given a choice of nine certified verification companies to obtain your own personal secure ID, so there’s plenty of choice. Choice is always great, but since the idea of choosing a certified company to keep your identity safe is new, how do you choose? Get a heads-up by reading our 5 things to know before choosing a GOV.UK Verify certified identity supplier.

5 things to know before choosing a GOV.UK Verify certified identity provider

If you want to access secure services at GOV.UK you need have a secure ID account. But it’s not the government that supplies you with this secure ID, it’s a private company.

SecureIdentity is one of seven services “certified” by Government to verify your ID and protect your privacy at GOV.UK.

As part of our development programme, we’ve spoken to thousands of people who expect to start using GOV.UK soon.

Whenever we explain the new GOV.UK Verify process to them the first questions they always ask us are: Why are private companies involved and how do I choose between them?

Why are seven different companies offering ID verification at GOV.UK?

The Government knows that security online is changing all the time. It believes that the best way to make sure that citizens can benefit from the very latest security is to introduce competition.

That’s why they’ve certified a number of services to validate your ID at GOV.UK Verify. The Government explains the idea of certified companies like this:

“Certified companies (also known as ‘identity providers’) are organisations that have met government and industry standards to provide identity assurance services as part of GOV.UK Verify”

In a competitive market, with seven different companies competing for your “business”, you can be pretty sure that the most advanced security systems will always be on offer.

How do I choose between the certified companies?

The idea of choosing a certified company to keep your identity safe is new.

At the moment, it’s pretty difficult to know what you should be looking for when you need to choose a provider to create your secure online identity. On the face of it, all providers might look very much the same.

Some basics you should know before you choose a certified company at GOV.UK Verify

No matter which provider you choose, the verification process will take about 10 minutes. Since all providers meet certification standards set out by the Government, you can be sure that any provider you choose has already convinced the Government that they’re up to the job and should be able to safely protect your identity online.

The big differences between suppliers will only become apparent in time. It’s a little bit like when the Government privatised BT and created competition in the UK telecoms market. At first, it was quite difficult to see any difference in the services provided, but these days, BT looks quite different to Virgin Media or TalkTalk.

When we ask people why they choose SecureIdentity, they say they like the fact we’re secure identity specialists who have been working with Governments behind the scenes to protect citizen’s privacy for over 20 years. They like that the security features we can offer go way beyond the standards set out by GOV.UK for certified identity providers, and they like the fact that we don’t do lots of other stuff too, like retail, banking, consumer credit or credit checking services.

But SecureIdentity is not the only choice and it’s not everyone’s choice. Some like the idea of having a secure ID with a company they already use for other things, like banking or online shopping.

What is clear is that almost everyone just wants the process of verifying their identity at GOV.UK to be as simple and straightforward as possible. So here are five facts worth knowing before you choose an ID provider at GOV.UK Verify.

Choosing a certified identity provider for GOV.UK Verify: 5 Key things to know

  1. All services are free.
  2. All certified providers meet government defined standards.
  3. The verify process will always take about 10 minutes regardless of supplier.
  4. You’ll need to have some form of ID to hand, like a passport or a UK driving licence.
  5. You can change your supplier at no cost whenever you want.

It’s taken 20 years to create SecureIdentity for GOV.UK Verify

Barclays, Paypal, The Post Office, Experian: these are just some of the household names available to you when you need to choose a certified supplier and access the services you need on GOV.UK.

SecureIdentity by Morpho is a bit different. We don’t spread our expertise across lots of services. We don’t do retail, banking, consumer credit or credit checking services. Keeping your personal details safe and secure in the digital world is all we do and we’ve been doing this for more people in more places for over 20 years.

If you haven’t heard of us already it’s because Morpho has traditionally been a company that’s worked for the world’s major governments, institutions and security services behind the scenes.  Think of us as the security  ‘engine’ that powers privacy in today’s networked world. 

  • We’ve already secured over 2.5 billion identities for citizens around the world
  • We’re the world’s No 1 provider of driving licences
  • More than 50 of the world’s governments already use our services to keep private details secure for citizens
  • We employ over 8,600 people in more than 50 countries

We provide reassurance

We’re backed by more than 20 years of experience. We’re extensively involved with government schemes where identity and security is at the top of the agenda – helping citizens to interact with official organisations in the knowledge that their valuable personal data is safe.

We provide the systems that deliver this reassurance – across the public sector as well as for financial institutions and government security services.

  • We authenticate 20 million digital signatures a year
  • We trace and archive 50 million transactions every day
  • We produce more than 2 million smart cards a day

You know us better than you think

The chances are, if you’ve got a mobile phone, or you’ve bought online or in-store with a credit card, or you’ve passed through passport control, we’ve been working behind the scenes to make sure your personal details are safe and your financial transactions are secure. Now, with the launch of SecureIdentity by Morpho, the world’s most established government grade identity systems are in your hands.