Tackling the Digital Identity Challenge

Todays Conveyancer

12 October 2020

A new group aimed at tackling Digital Identity has been formed to address the need for an industry wide approach to the question of an assured digital identity verification.

The Digital Identity Group, met for the first on the 1st October. The meeting, chaired by Stuart Young from Etive set the objectives:

“Digital identity was becoming an elephant in the room within the home buying and selling process and it was increasingly clear that we needed to take action to move the conversation forward.

Bringing all the key influencers together was an important first step and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who attended the meeting for their input.”

Originally anticipating 25-30 attendees, the meeting, which was held via video, hosted 74 people with representatives from.

“The attendee number is simply a reflection of interest in the topic.”

Attendees included:

Existing digital identity providers
Government representatives
Finance sector bodies
Estate Agents
Law firms
The meeting covered a series of short discussions led by Stuart Young, Ophelia King (Market Development Team DCMS on DCMS digital identity consultation), Mike Abrahams (Product Manager HMLR on HMLR requirements and work to date) and Ian Imeson who discussed how a Digital Identity Trust Framework might work.

The floor was then opened up to a wider discussion for all attendees to comment.

A wider discussion was then facilitated and while there is plenty of discussion opinion around the issue of digital identity, there seems to be a clear call on Government that it must play a much larger role.

“I understand that Government want the industry to come up with the solution but needs initiatives such as the DIG, to help define the required solutions that they can get behind.”

“What we’re talking about is reliability of data. And who holds the most reliable and credible source of data for the UK population… Government!”

“To my mind there are 2 important steps that need to be taken.

There needs to be some consideration of the release of data for digital identity providers to tap into;
While DCMS is developing a framework for UK PLC this won’t work for every sector and we need to develop a framework specifically for the home buying and selling process, that aligns with an overarching set of DCMS and HMLR principles.”
“There should be a standard to which providers are recognised, as identity is not a competitive issue, it’s a legal requirement.”

“This is very much about improving the standard of identity check that everyone does. This isn’t about the cost, which should increase if we want the right level of trust, reliability, information and security.”

“There are knock on benefits because you only have to do the check once per transaction, instead of the current situation where every part of the transaction undertakes their own checks.”

“And of course improving the quality at the front end, a higher barrier to entry at the front end for fraudsters, which has the potential, according to one comment from a PI insurer present, to see premiums come down for conveyancers.”

Issuing a rallying cry Stuart is clear about what the DIG needs from the sector for the benefit of both consumers and the sector.

“This only works if everyone is on board. All it takes is for one firm to refuse and the chain breaks down, delaying the transaction and continuing that high friction process consumers go through when they move home.”

“The wider adoption of technology is a necessity; look at HMLR’s latest decisions around electronic signing of documents… ultimately that needs a reliable identity element to make it work. This is combined with their desire for the adoption and use of one identity in a transaction too.

“The bottom line is conveyancers, estate agents and finance sector either want to be part of the problem, or part of the solution.”

For more information about the work of the DIG and to find out about upcoming events please contact Stuart on s.young@etive.org.


For more information on how Advantage365 can help your law firm, please call us on 0121 212 6580 or request a free call-back using our contact form https://www.advantage365.co.uk/contact to get free initial advice. You can also access a wealth of free business information for lawyers by visiting our digital Resource Centre https://www.advantageconsulting.co.uk/resources and view our free Business Factsheets https://www.advantageconsulting.co.uk/factsheets .

Alternatively, please subscribe to our services here https://www.advantage365.co.uk/subscribe-advantage365 or book an online consultation here https://www.advantage365.co.uk/book-online, or email us on info@advantage365.co.uk