I attended the first meeting of the Local Government Advisory Panel to the UK Identity Management Strategy Group (IDMSG) hosted at the Home Office by the Passport and Identity Service. I was very pleased to discover that all the various other groups I've been worrying about seem to feed into it (the IDMSG).
The IDMSG represents the whole of the public sector (and third sector) including devolved administrations in matters of identity management. There is still a little bit of a Tower of Babel when it comes to terminology.
However, we now have two glossaries, which are steadily converging, and it was made clear that the scope covers a single UK identity to bind together biographical and biometric data, but not to service entitlements, which will continue to be dealt with through initiatives such as Contact Point.
A colleague, rather unkindly I thought, commented that you didn't very often see me leaving such meetings smiling, but it's true that I was much encouraged.
I was interested to read a report saying that “insiders say the different timescales (advocated by the Treasury and IPS) point to a fundamental divergence between the IPS and Crosby's Treasury Team”. Well, I don't know about that, but consideration of the Crosby Report, and potential acceleration of deployment, is clearly on our agenda.
There was also a presentation of the Tell Us Once (about bereavement, change of address etc) project. Most local government people have known for ages that the main obstacles are statutory, rather than data protection, which is often blamed, and have started doing things like asking customers for permission to share information that statute prohibits us from sharing, so they only need tell us once.
So I'm always a little bemused when Government sets-up such projects rather than just amend the law. I guess that must be an overly simplistic view, but it would be nice if someone explained! Anyhow, the project seems to have some good people involved and, in my new spirit of optimism, I'm prepared to believe that it may succeed.
I noticed that the Department of Communities and Local Government/Department for Children, Schools and Families Working Group has now named the Government Connect Identity and Authentication Service (GCIAS).
In its latest glossary, “authentication is the process by which a credential and collateral information are presented and verified, to establish a claim to a valid electronic identity”.
Perhaps I'm being overly pedantic, but it seems to me that one of the terms “identity” and “authentication” is therefore superfluous in the new name!