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Identity services in post offices


Identity services in post offices

Ian Kerr

Identity services are seen as a core component of post office services in the future.

Post office networks have nationwide coverage, with high community trust, and are ideally situated to offer identity services – either on behalf of government or as a service to the private sector.

UK: Post Office offers easy access to identity services

In the UK, the Post Office has joined the Government Digital Framework, GCloud 11, enabling government departments to offer people a suite of ‘bricks and clicks’ identity services, including Digital Identity, In-branch Verification, and Document Certification.

Being part of the framework streamlines the entire procurement process for any UK government department that wants to use the Post Office’s identity services..

There are three Post Office identity services available on the framework:

  1. Digital Identity – enabling users to prove who they are and to share verified data and documents straight from their device. Uses include government and financial services, health and welfare, travel, and age-restricted retail.

  2. In-branch verification – face-to-face identity verification

  3. Document certification – certifies copies of original documents (e.g. common forms of ID such as passports and driving licences) with additional digital image capture available, if required

The advantage to government of leveraging the Post Office network is its reach (11,500 outlets, with 93% of the UK population living within 1 mile of a Post Office) and its existing counter and retail technology.

The Post Office already provides identity services to a range of government partners, including DVLA, Her Majesty’s Passport Office, and the Cabinet Office

“By helping customers to prove who they are in an easy and inclusive manner, we believe we will remove barriers that impede access to key services such as Universal Credit, and passport applications.” - Martin Edwards, Managing Director of Identity Services at Post Office

Australia Post’s employment screening service

Australia Post has launched a new employment screening service called Workforce Verification. The service offers employers a streamlined and efficient verification solution.

Background employment checks are becoming common in Australia, for the private and public sector. The Australia Post Workforce Verification service includes identity, police, and visa checks in one interface. More sophisticated identity, qualification and integrity checks will be added to the platform in future.

“The strength of our offering is the flexibility to offer a dual online and in-store process, leveraging our extensive network of post offices.” - Australia Post Head of Product - Identity Services Christian Seely

Australia Post has already signed on nine customers.

Passport services

UK citizens can renew their passports at the Post Office (selected branches only). In Australia, post offices offer passport applications and renewals. Not all post offices offer passport services - the Australian Passport Office determines which locations are authorised to perform passport interviews and renewals.

The US Postal Service has operated as an agent for the U.S. Department of State to process passport applications since the 1970s. There are 4,800 US post offices that can process passport applications.

What’s next?

The over-the-counter transaction business in post offices is mature. Increasingly, customers do their banking online and pay bills online.

A key part of securing a profitable and sustainable future for post offices is to become the public face of government. Post offices have the capacity to provide a range of government services, such as passport services, ID checks, payment of fines, property transfer transactions, and other interactions with government that have to be done in person.

Post offices are ideally situated to offer government services – especially in areas outside major population centres.

Additional business from government transactions will help maintain profitability of post offices - in particular franchised post offices - leveraging the post office network’s nationwide coverage, high community trust, and technology and communications infrastructure.

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