UK to launch app to streamline access to government services

Move will mean public 'no longer have to remember multiple usernames and passwords'

The UK will launch an app for the public to gain access to online government services so people “will no longer have to remember multiple usernames and passwords”.

It is hoped this will streamline the process to obtain free school meals and support for disabled family members as well as to change driver's license details.

“Currently, there are 191 different ways for people to set up a variety of accounts to access different services on, with 44 different sign-in methods,” the government said.

This was compared to the private sector, where users are able to access various services through their smartphone.

“Now more than ever, it is important that government responds to people’s heightened expectations about the services they use,” said Steve Barclay, the Cabinet minister responsible for enacting government policy.

“During the pandemic, people have had to interact with public services in a variety of new ways, including the NHS app and the vaccine-booking service.

“People rightly expect government to be data driven and digitally literate, and this will be a priority for me.”

Mr Barclay, who addressed the GovTech conference on Wednesday, said the app would make it easier for people to have access to the services they need.

At the conference, experts highlighted how technology could play a crucial role in tackling climate change.

Sarah Tennison, head of clean growth strategy and impact at Innovate UK, Britain’s innovation agency, said there was now a recognition of the scale of the change needed — but also the opportunities.

But Christian Hernandez, the co-founder of technology-focused, venture capitalist firm 2150, said the problem for climate-tech companies was that they are “cost prohibitive today”.

“They need to get commercial traction so that the price cost curve comes down so it can be deployed at scale,” he said.

Ms Tennison underlined the problem with scaling technologies and the cost involved in building up climate-focused tech companies.

“I think it sort of comes back to this fundamental problem — that I see anyway — of there are lots of technological solutions out there, but nobody is yet buying them at scale,” she said.

“So therefore, it makes it much more difficult to build a business model … to redevelop technological solutions at scale when there isn't a really strong market there pulling that technology through.”

Updated: October 13th 2021, 4:36 PM