02 Mar 2023

New joint report from Tony Blair and William Hague focuses on digital identity

“A properly functioning digital-ID system is the cornerstone of a digital-era public sector” according to the recently-published joint report by Tony Blair and William Hague, “A New National Purpose: Innovation Can Power the Future of Britain”.  

They further call to accelerate the “implementation of a single digital-ID system for all residents” in the form of a digital wallet that can be accessed from a personal device. The intention of which is to allow citizens to be able to “quickly interact with government services, while also providing the state with the ability to better target support”. 

Critically, the report also states that “rather than creating a marketplace of private-sector providers to manage the government-issued identity credentials of citizens, the government should provide a secure, private, decentralised digital-ID system for the benefit of both citizens and businesses”.  

In relation to the digital identity section of the report, Katherine Holden, Head of Data Analytics, AI, and Digital Identity, responded:  

Digital identity is a vital tool for all digitally-enabled sectors of the UK economy, including the public sector.  

However, instead of placing an additional burden on government to create a digital-ID system, it’s essential that we lean on the deep-rooted expertise and cutting-edge solutions that already exist within the UK’s digital identity market.  

Industry has invested heavily in developing and deploying robust technological solutions that embed key ethical principles, such as privacy and security, by design. Access to these solutions through public services will help to improve the user experience and ultimately strengthen public trust and confidence in the use of the technology.  

Government’s role should be to focus on enabling greater adoption and use of digital ID across the economy and society by creating an optimal regulatory environment, through the Digital Identity and Attribute Trust Framework, that enables the responsible and innovative use of digital identity to grow and flourish.   

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Associate Director, Data Analytics, AI and Digital ID, techUK

Katherine joined techUK in May 2018 and currently leads the Data Analytics, AI and Digital ID programme. 

Prior to techUK, Katherine worked as a Policy Advisor at the Government Digital Service (GDS) supporting the digital transformation of UK Government.

Whilst working at the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) Katherine led AMRC’s policy work on patient data, consent and opt-out.    

Katherine has a BSc degree in Biology from the University of Nottingham.

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