data use: DWP Confirm Your Identity

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Confirm Your Identity was an identity verification process for Universal Credit payments which makes it possible to confirm identity online.

download PDF of DWP Confirm Your Identity visualisation

Watch the DWP Confirm Your Identity animation

Proposed benefit:

  • don’t need to confirm identity in person or with paper documents

Potential harm: 

  • requires people to have HMRC account, passport, bank account, financial record, so may exclude people with complex lives;
  • possible negative consequences for people whose identities can’t be verified

Questions to discuss or think about

  • What do you think about DWP Confirm Your Identity?
  • Does anything surprise you about how data is being used here?
  • How would you feel about sharing your data with DWP Confirm Your Identity?
  • Look at the proposed benefits and potential harms of DWP Confirm Your Identity. What matters more to you: the proposed benefit or concern?
  • Do you think DWP Confirm Your Identity is fair? Why/why not?
  • How much do you feel like you understand DWP Confirm Your Identity?

What people think about DWP Confirm Your Identity

Reasonably high levels of trust in the DWP and its data uses were identified in our survey, but responses from elsewhere contradicted this picture:

“I wouldn’t trust the DWP to keep ANY of my data safe, and I wouldn’t trust them not to abuse it.”  

comment in a free text field in the survey

Some participants were concerned that Confirm Your Identity might have negative consequences for people from disadvantaged and minority groups who find it hard to use or engage with.

“It’s unfair because not everyone can access it. Now that I’ve thought about certain people and certain, you know, groups of people that wouldn’t be able to use that data matching system, there’s definitely some unfairness with the DWP one. I just don’t know if another system would be fairer or if it is a system that would suit everyone, really.”   

Grace, white British, bisexual woman, 35-44

There was concern and confusion about third party involvement in Confirm Your Identity:

Ruby believed that people without the right kinds of records to be able to verify their identity online would have to “part with their data more” than people who have such records. She said “I’m still kind of hung up on the whole financial agency getting your information.”

Ruby, heterosexual, British Chinese woman, aged 18-24

Find out more

To find out more about what our participants said about the NHS antibiotic prescribing research project, read our welfare sector report or visit our archive of anonymised research data.