Identity – The Trust Principle

Identity – The Trust Principle

There are lots of ways we trust our people to represent Post Office; the things we write, our products, our customer service in branch, as well as what we say at the many meetings and events we go to.

On Friday 18 May, our Identity Services team hosted a stand at the Think Digital Identity for Government event and appeared on panels of experts.

Bryn Robinson-Morgan, Chief Product Officer for Identity Services, was also a panellist for a session called The Trust Principle.

They spoke about how introducing digital identity for government services could cause trust and ethics concerns among the public. Concern over the introduction of the ‘’ scheme in the NHS was one high profile example. 

Diane Joyce

Diane Joyce, Technology Owner, Post Office Identity Services, later spoke on the topic, Identity Services – The Way Forwards. 

The panel also included another Verify identity provider, one long-term critic of the Verify scheme, and the original senior responsible owner for the identity assurance programme after the Coalition Government stopped development of the ID Card programme: the national identity register.

Diane said, “We can take what we’ve got from Verify and start to partner up and make it into a trust framework. And I think the private sector is very incentivised to make this work. 

There are seven identity providers; there are 2.2 milion users in Verify at the moment, a great start for such a young scheme. And we, the identity providers could really add to that. The incentive is to be able to get revenue out of these accounts and that will help drive (volumes of) accounts as well.”

However, Diane added, “I do think Verify needs to evolve and I am talking about evolution, not revolution. It’s in a good starting place. 

We need to motivate the customer. We really need to bring the customer on the journey with us. We need to make them think that this is just a normal part of their life, in the same way that they have a fingerprint on their phone. 

“We also have to motivate them by making it their Number One choice in how they do this. I think this is one of those areas where we’ve learned if there’s an easy way to do it, and then there’s a more stringent way to do it, I can tell you which way I’ll do it. It’s definitely the easy way. “

She also highlighted interoperability*. “We need interoperability. We need interoperability with eIDAS**, which the Verify standards provide really well now. We should be interoperating with the new Australian schemes, the Canadians, and some of the European Bank ID schemes.

“If you think about us in the private sector, I work for the Post Office. We have vast network that we can use. 

Diane​ added, “A key thing to bring us forward into the private sector is regulatory approval. We need to move that on. We have a number of times talked to regulators and we need to step that up. And that’s where the private-public partnership comes together.”

Becoming a leading provider of digital identity services is one of the key ambitions of our North Star strategy. We need to continue to trust our people to tell our story in the outside world, as part of building our digital future.

We know from our research that customers already trust Post Office, which gives us an incredibly strong starting position compared to our competitors. This event was an ideal place to build on that and set out our technology ambitions, to make sure we matter as much tomorrow as we do today.

Article in Government Computing on Diane’s panel session at Think Digital Identity for Government

* The ability for identity schemes to work together seemlessly.

** eIDAS  (electronic IDentification, Authentication and trust Services) is an EU regulation on / a set of standards for electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the European Single Market.