The announcement was made in a blog post on the Scottish Government’s Digital Service website and comes one month before the alpha phase of the government’s own online identity assurance programme.
According to the blog post, the Scottish Government has been considering ways in which government digital services – including the UK Government Digital Service (GDS) – can collaborate with the private sector to “tackle common issues” with digital identification verification and authentication.
The GDS has collaborated with the OIX over the past five years on a number of large projects. As such, the Scottish Government says it is investigating if the next phase of its digital identity projects could be delivered in collaboration with the organisation.
“As a worldwide, non-profit, cross-sector membership organisation that provides industry leadership for online identity assurance, OIX are a natural fit with the aims of what we are seeking to do in Scotland,” the blog post said. “They collaborate with governments, councils, identity providers and a host of others to address complex challenges around assurance.”
The value of digital identity to the UK economy has been highlighted previously and along with the uptake of smart technology could benefit the UK economy by up to £58 billion.
Collaboration between government and private sector organisations could drive innovation in this field, with the blog post highlighting the fact that many fintech businesses and private sector firms are delivering “innovative but tactical identity solutions.”
It adds that although the UK Gov Verify scheme does exist in the public sector, none of these have provided a “universal identity solution” as of yet.
A report in June 2018 on digital identity options for Scottish citizens highlighted concerns over the adoption of the UK Government’s Verify scheme as a national system and suggested that people should have a greater variety of choice when choosing identity providers.
The report, compiled by Consult Hyperion and ASE, assessed the discovery phase of the Scottish Government’s Online Identity Assurance Programme that was launched last year. The Identity Assurance Programme aims to build a framework by which people are able to prove their identities through accessing digital public services.
Adopting a flexible approach to meet the needs of Scotland’s varied population demographics is critical to ensuring that digital identity programmes are inclusive and highly accessible. As Scotland continues to develop its digital infrastructure, the necessity of digital citizenship grows.
“The UK is among an ever-smaller group of developed nations without a national digital identity infrastructure. The UK has few identity standards, and the market remains fragmented.”