The Scottish Government’s digital directorate has published a plan to develop a common public sector approach to online identity assurance.

The Government’s digital strategy contains a commitment to work with stakeholders, privacy interests and the public to develop a “robust, secure and trustworthy” mechanism by which a person can demonstrate their ID online, to access public sector digital services.

“This important work is now up and running,” said Ross Clark, of the Scottish Government’s, online identity assurance project team, “and the team is pleased to share our programme plan which is our plan of necessary actions to develop a common public sector approach to online identity assurance.”

Other European countries have been developing their platforms. People in Switzerland will be able to use a single digital identity to buy online products and services under a project unveiled by a consortium of Swiss companies.

The aim is to let people use just one login profile to order in shops, buy train tickets or do banking transactions, according to the consortium of nine firms. It includes UBS, Credit Suisse, Swisscom, Swiss Post, stock exchange operator SIX, Raiffeisen, Swiss Railways, Zuercher Kantonalbank, and insurer Mobiliar.

The plan is to create a joint venture next year for the platform similar to ones in use in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The Government will support the project by certifying the identity of customers, but the consortium partners will provide the infrastructure.

Their existing clients already cover three quarters of the Swiss population. They intend to invest tens of millions of Swiss francs in the project. The Government has announced plans to introduce legislation by mid-2018 enabling the new digital ID system.

Clark said that over the coming months, the Scottish Government team will work closely with stakeholders “to achieve the objectives set out in the plan”. It is hoped a beta version of the platform will be released around October 2018.