The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has revealed plans to roll out identity assurance services in a project that is set to cost £25m.

An online contract notice outlines an eighteen month framework that details how DWP will be the first government department to adopt the latest Cabinet Office identity assurance guidelines, and universal credit and personal independent payments will have the services integrated first. 

The framework has been issued to support the government’s digital by default policy, where all major public service provider departments will adopt identity assurance plans, for users accessing government services. 

The Cabinet Office has said that it expects such adoption to increase digital uptake and improve cyber security for departments and users. 

The initial DWP services will be required to provide identity assurance for approximately 21 million claimants, with the aim of having suppliers selected in summer 2012, and systems fully operational by spring 2013. 

DWP is currently building interfaces to its systems for identity assurance that currently use SAML 2.0 profiles, which is an XML based protocol that uses security tokens containing information about a customer.

As such, the initial set of services for DWP will need to be built so that they can interface with this, and support authentication requests and responses in the telephony channel.

The provider will also be charged with managing the credential lifecycle (e.g. user name, password, hard or soft tokens, grids, voice samples, memorable information, one time passwords), from issue to decommission, which could include credential loss, recovery and reissue.

In similar news, the Post Office also issued an online contract notice this week outlining its plans to implement identity assurance services across its online, telephony and face-to-face channels, throughout its UK branch network, in a project that will cost approximately £9 million.