The Cabinet Office is planning to go to market to appoint a second tranche of providers for its identity assurance programme (IDAP).
The department will kick off the formal procurement exercise at the end of November with a tender notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), according to a GOV.UK blog post.
The contracts will be worth up to £36 million, according to a pre-tender notice published in April.
The cross-government IDAP aims to help enable secure online government transactions by allowing people to certify they are who they say they are through a reusable digital identity provided by an external supplier. It is being led by the Government Digital Service (GDS).
The services to be procured will “meet all demand for assured identities from HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] for most of 2015”, the pre-tender notice explained.
It added: “The expectation is that a further procurement will be implemented during 2015 to purchase the next tranche of identities to cover continuing demand beyond 2015.”
Five companies- The Post Office, Verizon, Experian, Digidentity and Mydex- are already providing identity assurance services via contracts signed in September 2013.
The GDS will hold a market briefing event on 30 October at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, to explain the procurement process and address questions from potential suppliers.
The first online government service to use identity assurance was HM Revenue & Customs' Pay As you Earn (PAYE), which launched as a private beta in February.
The second to use IDAP- the ‘view driving record’ online service being developed by the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency- is now in public beta, having first been released in private beta in June.
The identity service was originally launched to support Universal Credit, but the plans were put on ice as the programme hit major IT difficulties last year.
The Cabinet Office is yet to confirm which digital government services will be next to use IDAP.
A GOV.UK blog post published in April explained that identity providers are paid each time a user registers with them.
It said: “The initial contracts cover the first 600,000 registrations. We’re expecting to use all of these this year, so we’re now starting the process of buying identity provider services for the next phase of the programme.”