What are smart entitlements?

March 6, 2020 by No Comments | Category Digital Identity, Digital Public Services

In this blog, Gavin Ross, Policy Lead for Digital Identity Scotland, provides an update on some of our broader activity. This includes considering how an attribute approach could support citizens when accessing services, products or benefits that they are entitled to. Our Smart Entitlements strategy…

“The DIS programme continues its work on a prototype to test an attribute-led approach to support simple, safe and secure access to public services. Alongside this we are taking a look at what broader opportunities this approach could provide to citizens and service providers. To support this, we ran a small competitive tender process to find an external partner to help. We have asked them to research and deliver a report into how and what future services could look like. Their focus is on what new or expanded products could exist if there was a means of supporting citizens to store and then share proven information or attributes about themselves if they wanted to. The contract was awarded in January 2020 to Mydex CIC, who are working in partnership with the Digital Health and Care Institute, and they started working with us in February 2020.

But what does this mean? Well, smartcards or similar documents are well-established in the Scottish public sector, notably to deliver transport and Local Authority services. They hold evidence of verified attributes – information about the holder – and enable citizens to access products or services. With the increasing availability of smart devices and other digital technology, we believe it should be easier for citizens to hold and control evidence of a broader range of information about themselves.

If this was the case, they could prove entitlement and gain access to a range of different services. And they could do so without the need – and the frustrating amount of time it takes – to fill in forms, once, twice or multiple times. As a result, citizens could choose to provide information in a way which protects their privacy and gives them quick access to a service. We think there is significant potential beyond simply placing the capabilities of smart cards on mobile devices.

For the moment we’re referring to this piece of work as a ‘smart entitlements strategy’ and we expect the research to identify new, as well as existing, products and services which could align and deliver in this way. It is focussed on the needs of people who use public services rather than looking at specific technology or devices. This will culminate in a report which will be completed by end March 2020, around the same time that the work on a prototype comes to an end. This will allow us to consider the results of both pieces of work together before establishing next steps. Watch this space”

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