Online criminal records checks to take a punt on troubled Verify system

You know that even HMRC ditched this, right?

The Disclosure and Barring Service, responsible for processing requests for criminal records checks, has taken the gamble of using the Government Digital Service's online ID system authentication portal.

From next year, users will be able to apply direct to DBS for an online check. "As part of the online application you'll need to prove your identity through GOV.UK Verify," it said.

However, the system has taken years to get off the ground, with its performance dashboard suggesting lots of people are still not able to authenticate themselves with the service: the completion rate is still just 38 per cent.

On separate occasions it failed to work for farmers and married tax allowance recipients.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has since confirmed that it is ditching the Cabinet Office's system, and will be pushing forward with its own replacement for Government Gateway.

One problem is that the identity providers, mainly Experian at this point, fail to recognise anyone without a digital footprint (young adults, women who've taken their husbands names etc.).

An insider remarked: "I can't see this ending well. It will be successful, however, in fulfilling its name – with barring of many users!"

A lot of GDS's budget appears to be earmarked for scaling Verify, which it announced would have 25 million users by 2020.

For example, the Land Registry's digital mortgage service also intends to use Verify "to ensure that a borrower can easily progress from verifying their identity to digitally signing their mortgage deed".

However, the Law Commission recently pointed out in its consultation on making a will: "Verify does not currently ensure that the person entering the information is in fact the person he or she is purporting to be; rather it focuses on verifying that the person exists." ®

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