The government have announced plans to roll out a new digital identity documentation, which will enable employers to verify employees’ identities.
The new UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework, led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) with the Home Office and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), will set out the rules and standards for organisations to follow in order to carry out secure and consistent digital identity checks.
Initially launched in February 2021, the framework has undergone two rounds of public consultation, and will be rolled out in early 2022, ahead of relevant changes to legislation from April 2022.
Following feedback about the ability to conduct right to work and right to rent checks remotely during the pandemic, the Home Office initiated a review of the availability of specialist tech to support a system of digital checks in the future.
As a result, the Home Office will now enable employers and landlords to use certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) service providers to carry out digital identity checks on their behalf for many who are not in scope to use the Home Office online services, including British and Irish citizens.
This development will align with DBS’ proposal to enable digital identity checking within their pre-employment process, through the introduction of its Identity Trust Scheme.
Enabling the use of IDVT for right to work, right to rent and DBS checks, the move hopes to “support long-term post pandemic working practices, accelerate the recruitment and onboarding process, improve employee mobility and enhance the security and integrity of the checks”, according to the government announcement yesterday.
The technology utilised across the identity process is also designed to remove human error in terms of identifying fraudulent documents or inaccuracies.
However, some have taken to Twitter to question the move, especially in relation to the large level of data collection as a result of the pandemic.
One tweeted: “The Government will introduce Digital Identity documentation from 2022. The section is just hidden on your Covid passport currently. You didn’t really believe it was just a Covid vaccine status pass did you? #COVID#NoVaccinePassportsAnywhere.”
In January 2022, the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework will open for providers to begin the certification process.
IDVT service providers will need to become certified against the trust framework rules, alongside any requirements specific to the particular Schemes. The timing and alignment of the Right to Work, Right to Rent, and DBS Scheme changes ensures providers can undertake a single certification for these checks from the outset.