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U.K. updates digital identity guidelines for right to work, rent and criminal record checks

The UK government has updated its guidelines to aid employers and landlords in using certified digital identity service providers (IDSPs) to carry out identity checks under the Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework (DIATF).

The Right to Work, Right to Rent, and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) initiatives are part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)’s trust framework’s testing process.

Starting from 6 April 2022, employers have to use a certified IDSP for DBS checks, while it is not mandatory for them and landlords to do so for right-to-work (RTW) and right-to-rent (RTR) checks, which can be performed manually.

The UK government clarified that, after lifting the pandemic measures enabling RTW checks over a video call and accepting scanned documentation on 1 October 2022, employers must now check RTW documentation face-to-face if they choose not to use an IDSP.

Job applicants from outside the UK and Ireland in possession of a biometric residence permit, a biometric residence card, a frontier worker permit or an e-visa may still be able to provide a “share code” to enable employers to perform the RTW check online.

According to the updated guidelines, to become certified against the schemes, IDSPs must meet the criteria in the latest version of the trust framework, which was published in January 2023.

To become certified, IDSPs must choose whether they want to do so against the Right to Work and Right to Rent Schemes, the DBS Scheme, or both. They will then be assessed by a combination of desk reviews and on-site audits depending on the scope of the chosen certification.

“DCMS will review the outcome of the assessment process and, if all requirements have been met, the name, contact details, and certification status of the IDSP will be published,” read the guidelines.

At the time of writing, a total of 34 IDSPs have been certified under the DIATF, including Yoti, TrustID, OCR Labs and Credas.

DIATF may be confusing for property sector

Credas also recently warned against non-certified providers “copying the language and rhetoric” used in the DIATF.

Talking to Think Digital Partners, Credas CEO Tim Barnett points out that some of the IDSPs certified within the overall scheme are certified for only some of the background checks included in the scheme, while others are certified for all of them. IDSPs must be certified against the trust framework to participate in the schemes, so all those certified for any of the checks are certified against the DIATF, but not all those certified to the DIATF are approved for the various checks.

In particular, the executive claims that while the 34 providers mentioned above are certified to different degrees, just 18 of them are authorized to carry out right-to-rent checks.

“In recent months, we have witnessed real confusion amongst many estate and letting agents between authentic UK government certification and those being offered by some private companies that hold themselves out to be government certified but are not,” Barnett tells Think Digital Partners.

At the same time, the CEO clarified that DCMS and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are currently working with stakeholders in the property buying and selling sector to provide a clearer picture for estate and letting agents.

The UK government also recently announced plans to subsidize private digital ID schemes.

Article: UK updates digital identity guidelines for right to work, rent and criminal record checks

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