UK digital service plans more biometric use
12 February 2018 08:23 GMT

The UK's Government Digital Service says biometrics and AI will play a larger role in the future as it offers more eGovernment services.

Director General Kevin Cunnington outlined in a blogpost that GDS is looking at how technologies such as machine learning and voice control could be used in existing services such as GOV.UK, relates it to the possibilities for new learning streams at GDS Academy.

“Our team will help government departments and public bodies identify challenges they face that could be solved by new digital technologies,” Cunnington says. “We will then act as a ‘front door’ to tech firms, giving them a clear access point where they can put forward their innovative ideas.

“Once a finalised product is created, the public sector body can then choose to buy it from the tech company.”

Cunnington also outlines the progress of some elements of GDS’s work, saying that more than 175 services across government are now using one of the common components it creates. He points to the use of GOV.UK Notify by organisations such as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, the Department for International Trade and local authorities such as Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Altogether more than 22.3 million notifications have been sent through Notify so far, and more than £39.3 million in payments has gone through GOV.UK Pay.

There is also a nod to work on the other major platform developed by GDS, GOV.UK Verify for online identity assurance, with reference to its use by organisations such as HM Revenue & Customs and HM Land Registry. But no figures on its usage are given, nor is there any reference to the recurring criticisms of the programme.

In addition, the GovWifi single log-in for government is now available at more than 340 locations across the country. GDS recently began an effort to take the service from public beta to live and increase its use more widely across the public sector.

The blog also makes no reference to recent reports that there are plans to move the responsibility for data policy and governance away from GDS and into the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.