History & future

PIB-d was created in 2011 as a joint-venture between (parts of) the HE sector, and private investors. InnovateUK helped out by providing a grant towards initial costs.

The company carried out an initial feasibility study of (what we now know as) the UCD concept in 2011-2012. The results were – in broad terms – successful. But it then became apparent that the timing was not good.

UCD is related to the broad field of online ‘digital identity’, and requires cooperation between the public and private sectors. In 2012, it was clear that the public sector’s appetite for projects in digital identity field would be sated – for some years to come – by another project, led by Cabinet Office, and now known as gov.uk Verify.

The identity community has learned a lot from Verify over the past eight years. It may now well be timely to look again at the UCD ideas to see whether they provide a suitable starting point for next steps in the development of the necessary new infrastructure.

If the UCD proposal goes forward, then there will be a need for (i) a public-interest governance body; and (ii) a development company, likely to be part owned by the initial PDS providers, and working under the terms of a concession contract with the governnance body.

PIB-d is now seeking to raise funds to set up the governance body as a charity, and equip it with a suitable set of respected trustees. In time, PIB-d may seek to become the development company for the new infrastructure. But since the governance body is public-interest, and must therefore be independent, it is not inevitable that PIB-d will be chosen as the devco.