Towards a digital ID: part 4

Posted on Categories eGov, Tags

This is the latest in a series of blog posts that describe our journey towards introducing a digital ID scheme for Jersey. If you’ve not been following the series I recommend you read the previous parts so that you understand the context:

  1. 22 September 2015
  2. 21 December 2015
  3. 21 March 2016

UK model discovery project

In May the UK’s digital ID scheme which is called GOV.UK Verify went live. The main characteristics of the UK scheme are:

  • There is no physical identity card.
  • You apply for your digital ID online.
  • The data about your identity isn’t held centrally by government but instead by a company of your choice.
  • There are eight companies for you to choose from.
  • The company you select is responsible for taking you through a number of steps to prove that you really are who you say you are.
  • The registration process typically takes about ten minutes and only has to be done once.
  • Registration is free.
  • The companies have to keep your data secure and cannot use it for any other purposes without your express permission.
  • In future, the intention is that, if you give permission, it will be possible to use the same ID that you use to log on to government websites to log on to your bank’s website, or perhaps a retailer, or any business that needs to be sure of who you are when you deal with them online. The government will not know, and has no way to find out, what else you do with your digital ID.


The results of our research into whether the UK approach could be viable in Jersey have now been published on the OIX website where anyone who is interested can read them. The whitepaper explains why the UK took this particular approach as well as how the system works in layman’s terms. It compares the digital identity needs of Jersey to those of the UK and considers what changes would be needed if we were to follow suit.

The report concluded that yes, the UK model could work here and that the differences – and therefore the changes that would be needed – are thought to be slight.

Next steps

There will be two streams of activity this summer, running in parallel:

1. Further explore the UK model

We are going to follow the recommendation described in the conclusion of the whitepaper, which is to run an ‘alpha project’ in which we explore the option further without committing too much time or money. We expect the alpha project to run over a period of about 3 or 4 months at a cost of in the region of £50,000. The project will tap into the expertise of people involved in the UK system alongside the work of Jersey-based companies.

2. Check that we’ve not overlooked any viable alternatives

We want to be sure that all viable options have been considered. To that end, we will be commissioning around 20 days of work by an independent specialist company with the brief to highlight to us any options from suppliers worldwide that meet our criteria for consideration.

We expect that the two streams of activity will be complete in October.

We intend to increase the frequency of updates here on the blog, with the next one expanding on the scope of the alpha project, the specialist skills we’ll need to source locally and how Islanders can get involved in shaping the new system.

Our moderation policy