Major UK Programmes

GOV.UK Verify

The UK Government has developed GOV.UK Verify – a safer, simpler and faster way to prove who you are online when accessing government services.

GOV.UK Verify uses certified companies to verify your identity to government. A certified company is a private company that works to high industry and government standards when they verify your identity.

You can currently choose from the following certified companies, giving you choice and control over how your information is used:

Post Office
Royal Mail

Once you’ve verified your identity with your chosen certified company, you can use your account across a growing range of government services without having to start again each time.

Here’s more information about how GOV.UK Verify works, including a list of the government services that you can access with GOV.UK Verify.

GOV.UK Verify is built and maintained by the Government Digital Service (GDS), part of the Cabinet Office. The UK Government is committed to expanding GOV.UK Verify and helping to grow a market for identity assurance that will be able to meet user needs in relation to central government services, as well as for local, health and private sector services.  

Here, the Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock speaks at the Institute for Government about GOV.UK Verify’s federated approachand the benefits of working with the private sector:

A number of certified companies have been selected, through procurement, to deliver GOV.UK Verify service – verifying individuals’ identities, securely and safely.  They are known as identity providers.  A second round of procurement was recently completed. Those interested in the latest news about GOV.UK Verify should follow GDS Identity Assurance blog.

Using certified companies makes GOV.UK Verify secure and resilient, because information is not stored centrally, and only minimal data is passed between companies and departments.


Certified companies are required to verify an individual’s identity according to standards developed by government – Good Practice Guides.  The standards define the Levels of Assurance (LoA) and the strength and breadth of evidence required to achieve those levels.  An evidence’s strength is determined by its issuance process and security features. The breadth of evidence is achieved by requiring evidence from across a range of categories – for example, Citizen, Money and Living.

Citizen: Evidence which demonstrates an interaction between an individual and a Public Authority as a citizen of the state

Money: Evidence that demonstrates the individual’s existence in the financial life

Living: Evidence that demonstrates the individual’s existence in the community, their working life and what they consume

Government is the first contracted customer to the certified companies. Government is committed to transforming government services. This means that there is an ambition to deliver the majority of their transactions digitally.


The UK Government is the first customer of the federated model of identity assurance using the certified companies. To provide a sense of scale of potential user take up, you can explore government transactions here.

The UK Government is committed to expanding GOV.UK Verify and helping to grow a market for identity assurance that will be able to meet user needs in relation to central government services, as well as for local, health and private sector services.

Not all government services are online yet, but there is great ambition to continue to increase availability and take up of digital government services. GDS want the online services to be so good that citizens prefer to use them. Eventually GOV.UK Verify will be the default way for individuals to access services online (businesses will continue to use Government Gateway).


The Cabinet Office, through the GDS, joined the Open Identity Exchange 2012 to communicate with the marketplace for identity assurance supply and to support experimental alpha and discovery projects that explore the real world business, design and technical challenges that will shape the adoption of digital identity services based on open standards. The results of these projects can be read in the OIX White Papers.

OIX projects are allowing the UK Government to ‘learn from the journey’ and help focus private sector discussion around tangible identity assurance problems.

Government support for OIX and GOV.UK Verify-related projects

Once a project related to identity assurance or GOV.UK Verify is in progress, OIX UK and the Cabinet Office are committed to the project. GDS will provide resources as and when required based on timescales, delivery objectives and available resources. A project owner is not expected to fund GDS resources. However, all OIX UK projects are required to be collaboratively funded. More information about how OIX UK projects are run can be found on the OIX UK Project Process page.

GDS resources can include:

User research specialists
Technical development
Policy guidance
Standards guidance
Privacy guidance
Legal resource