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Confirm Your Identity: a new way to verify online

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Collaboration, Cross Government, Universal Credit
Universal Credit application page of the website shown on a coloured carpet
Confirm Your Identity works to verify customers applying for Universal Credit

The Confirm Your Identity (CYI) service helps Universal Credit (UC) claimants prove their identity online during the application process. This service has been active since April after being accelerated during the government response to Covid-19, and has already been used as part of over 600,000 customer journeys. Complementing existing identity verification services, CYI is a key part of DWP’s strategic direction moving forward and is a great example of cross-government collaboration to improve our services.

CYI works by enabling citizens to reuse an existing HMRC Government Gateway account, or create a new one, as part of their Universal Credit application. This helps people to stay safe online and reduces the burden on our Operations teams.

Supporting Universal Credit claimants

Originally scheduled to be introduced in September 2020, CYI was accelerated to support existing verification processes during this challenging time.  With face-to-face meetings unavailable, there was unprecedented demand on both online and agent led processes in UC. Services such as CYI helped alleviate this pressure by providing alternative ways to prove your identity online.

We have worked very closely with the UC product team and this collaborative approach has really supported the pace we’ve been able to achieve.  Acceleration of the service obviously impacted our team in DWP Identity and Trust Services, based in the Sheffield Digital Hub, and we had to adapt to changes in our own circumstances due to the lockdown.

Map of the United Kingdom highlighting the areas where the teams working on the Confirm Your Identity service are based
Location of the various teams who have contributed to the ongoing Confirm Your Identity project.

For example, instead of getting together around a white board to discuss and visualise our work, Skype, telekits, Confluence and MS Teams helped us to coordinate, not just within our team but with all the stakeholders in HMRC, UC and other areas at DWP.  Online collaborative tools are great for sharing ideas and to collectively reflect and improve ways of working.

In terms of our deployment approach, we used A/B testing of different front-end designs to understand which worked most effectively alongside existing online options.  This approach is informing how we deliver enhancements to the service.  Some of the particular challenges for this project have been how to introduce a regular release cycle for the service and how to undertake user testing without being able to do so face-to-face. I’m pleased to say that we found a way to do so, meaning we have already made iterations that improve the user journey.

Working with other departments

CYI is a great example of cross-governmental collaboration, with our team working jointly with HMRC to bring the service online. Our policy and product colleagues worked with HMRC initially during pre-discovery, and we also have a number of integrations to other internal DWP services. CYI is the first non-HMRC service to utilise HMRC identity verification, so it’s an important moment from a cross-government point of view.

Accelerating the release of CYI underlined how resilient and adaptable our team is, and showcased the commitment and determination of our colleagues in DevOps and Service Management, UC and HMRC. Even at this early stage the service is providing a valuable service to UC customers and will continue to grow to form part of DWP’s online verification processes.


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  1. Comment by Jane posted on

    Great blog post, Alison and well done to you and the rest of the team.

  2. Comment by Ada posted on

    Brilliant blog, Alison thanks for the great leadership and teamwork

  3. Comment by Rashmi posted on

    Very informative and true reflection of our collaborative work. Thank you Alison for the blog.

  4. Comment by alan posted on

    fantastic blog Alison - this really captures and represents the achievements across a number of different teams in DWP and HMRC.

  5. Comment by Vaishali posted on

    Excellent blog Alison, a huge achievement and success of CYI and the team. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Comment by Michelle Butler posted on

    Brilliant blog Alison, such an achievement in such challenging times.

  7. Comment by Helen posted on

    Great work on CYI, sounds like a great success story, just when citizens needed it

  8. Comment by Danny McLaughlin posted on

    Great read Alison and well done Team!