Password

Is attribute exchange the key to digital savings for local public services?

By: Vicky Sargent @vickysargent
Published: Monday, October 27, 2014 - 15:50 GMT Jump to Comments

Enabling people to transact with public services online will bring substantial savings, hence the call for services that are ‘digital by default’.

For many of these services, however, access or eligibility is linked to age, receipt of benefits, residential status or some other ‘attribute’. Proof of such attributes currently means presenting physical evidence, often in person, and this is a significant barrier to providing services that that can be delivered online from end to end.

Attribute exchange is a way of overcoming this problem and managing everything online, based on secure sharing of data between verified parties.

For service users 'attribute exchange' would overcome the current inconveniences of, for example, applying for a residents’ parking permit online and then finding that to complete the transaction, it’s necessary to visit the council offices with documents proving a) residency and b) ownership of the relevant vehicle. It would reduce paperwork, be quick and easy and be permission based.

Service users have to go through a similar rigmarole when applying for many other services where eligibility is linked to receipt of benefits, age, disability, residential status or some other attribute. This isn’t just inconvenient and costly for the service user, it also costs service providers, typically local authorities, many millions of pounds a year.

Attribute exchange is not a new idea. Sharing personal data happens every day for billions of people; particularly for social purposes and non-critical transactions, for example use of social login to access some company websites and to pay for products and services.

Such data sharing cuts costs and increases convenience. However, it is currently unregulated, the data is not verified and the basis upon which the data is being shared is often unclear. Notable data misuse cases, for example theft and loss of data through human error, or the potentially unethical use of data by organisations for their own gain or to share with third parties (for example the claim that LG Smart TVs provide viewing data to potential advertisers), suggest that more is needed if attribute exchange can enable more critical transactions based on trust such as those required for providing benefits and social care.       

What we need to add to the equation is trust, verification of all parties, transparency of use, and personal control over the consent and permissioning process to make data sharing safe for everyone. This would save much time and money and reduce risk.

Broader benefits would include more convenience for individuals, ease of use and greater satisfaction. This is not a technology issue, because standards exist. It is more about the implementation of a framework that ensures all participants’ rights are protected and trust can exist. 

This new approach was the subject of a collaborative discovery project carried out earlier this year involving Warwickshire County Council, the Government Digital Service, the Open Identity Exchange (OIX), and Mydex and Verizon, two of the Government approved identity providers. 

This is now the subject of a whitepaper published by OIX. The project will soon be moving into an Alpha phase with the same participants.

For details on the Information Daily AnswerTime on Attribute Exchange go here

Comments

Latest

Outdated infrastructure and an increasingly fragmented market threaten the future of technology-enabled integrated care.

County Durham voters back devolution in the North-East, Sir Digby Jones considers run for West Midlands mayor…

The recent launch of The Mayoral Tech Manifesto 2016 on London’s digital future, sets out a clear agenda…

The manufacturing industry is currently facing scrutiny from parties concerned for its survival. Far from facing…

Almost a year ago, I made some predictions for what would take place in government and public sector customer…

Sheffield, Warrington and Doncaster announce cuts, Lincolnshire is held to data ransom, fight begins for West…

Working for an education charity delivering numeracy and literacy programmes in primary schools, I’m only…

Northamptonshire County Council recently received the maximum four star rating from Better connected after putting…

Historically, the entrance of new generations into the workplace has caused varying levels of disruption. The…

Following another commendation for digital services, Surrey County Council's Web and Digital Services Manager,…

We cannot carry on spinning the roulette wheel that is cyber security, knowing that the “castle and moat”…

This week David Cameron wades into row over £69m of cuts planned by Oxfordshire CC; Stoke on Trent plans…