By Jonathan Kerr and Zak Habgood
As much as we’d like to imagine it, the Civil Service doesn’t really operate as a single organisation. In fact, every department has a number slightly different approaches to a number of things. For the most part, that’s valuable and important - the specialised knowledge of HMRC is not the same as DWP, and that’s the way it should be. However, we also recognise that sometimes there are commonalities that can be centralised and made better for everyone. One of these examples is security passes.
We’ve all got (at least!) one. If your role takes you to different government departments on a regular basis you probably have more than one. In 2014 we started moving towards standardising our passes with the Common Civil Service Pass, and we are really excited to introduce the latest iteration, which we’re calling GovPass.
GovPass is the most secure government pass to date - but the most important thing about it is that it’s built on open standards. It’s an odd thing for security people to say, but we’re going to keep saying it: making things open makes things better. In our case, it means colleagues in the Government Property Agency can pick suppliers who are aligned to these standards - which, in turn, means your pass will work (really work!) with any door in the Civil Service.
Well. Any door you’re allowed to open, anyway.
What’s more, these new passes are incredibly smart. We’re working closely with the other strands of the One IT project, which itself is part of the wider One Civil Service programme that’s headed up by Alex Chisholm. We’re also investigating how we can connect it with your HR record and identity. That will mean that anything that needs to validate who you are will be able to do so with one touch - whether that’s GOV.UK checking if you can publish something; a door to a secure area making sure you’re allowed in; or a printer ensuring it’s releasing sensitive information to the right person.
We’ve already successfully rolled this out at Dover House and the Old Admiralty Building, and we’ll be looking forward to installing it in five more locations before April. If you’d like to know more, or think your department should be next on our list, please email us: GovPass@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.