Government Gateway and GOV.UK Verify: government online services explained

What is Government Gateway?

The Government Gateway was established in 2001 and aimed to be a secure platform for the public and businesses to exchange personal information and make payments online. Gateway enabled its users to file tax returns, claim benefits and access council tax records.

The concept of an e-government was first unveiled by Tony Blair in 1999 with a target of getting all government, people and business services online by 2005.

By 2001 the first stage of the Government Gateway was established and Microsoft were gifted ownership of the Gateway portal. While the idea was to use Microsoft to expand its overall initiative, the Government Gateway was criticised for only being accessible via Internet Explorer due to apparent data certificates that were only supported by Explorer.

The Government Gateway scheme is now being gradually replaced by GOV.UK Verify, which aims to provide a faster and more secure service, for most of its previous functions.

What is GOV.UK Verify?

Formally launched in 2011, the GOV.UK Verify scheme aims to partially replace Government Gateway, enabling people to prove their identity when accessing government services online. Verify users will choose from numerous 'identity providers' - companies they already deal with - to prove their identity when they initially sign into government services.

Although the government says alternative (non-digital) means of contact will still be available, GOV.UK Verify is envisaged as the main access point for government services.

GOV.UK Verify aims to become a single, shared platform used across government to verify a citizen’s identity: whether they are renewing their passport, paying their taxes or applying for benefits.

However it has been has been repeatedly delayed and criticised for slow take-up and questions over security. Read more about GOV.UK Verify here.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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