Services requiring digital verification

FOI request reference: F0062955
Publication date: October 2020

Outcome
Successful.

Request and response 
1) Please list the services that require users to verify their identity by sending in physical forms of documentation (e.g. a passport)?
Please note that we have interpreted ‘users’ in this context to mean members of the public who make use of The National Archives public services, as opposed to members of staff or contractors.

We have two services that require users to verify their identity.

The first is our document delivery service for users requesting physical access to original archival documents in our reading rooms.

The second is the provision of a data subject’s personal data upon request. These requests are handled as Subject Access Requests as defined under the General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018.

1a) For each of these services, how many identities were verified in this way in your 2019/20 financial year, and what did it cost to process?
For users requesting access to original archival documents, 13,381 physical forms of identification were manually verified in the 2019/20 financial year.

For users requesting access to their personal data, 20 physical forms of identification were verified in the 2019/20 financial year. These forms of identification were sent to us by post or email.
We do not hold information on the cost of this process, as it is handled as part of the relevant team’s everyday business.

1b) Are these verifications performed by a third party or conducted by an in-house team?
Both services are conducted by in-house teams.

2) Please list the services that allow users to use a digital method for proving their identity; and name the methods used (e.g. Gov.UK Verify or other equivalent digital biometric identity method)?
For access to original archival documents, users are initially required to register on our in-house reader registration portal and provide a proof of address and identity.

For users requesting their personal data, we do not use a digital platform for verifying identity. Users are requested to send copies of their identification either by post or by email.

2a) For each of these services, how many identities were verified in this way in your 2019/20 financial year, and what did it cost to process?
For users requesting access to original archival documents, we do not hold this information as it is not retained longer than six weeks if a reader ticket is not collected. We can only confirm that at least 13,381 will have been verified in this manner. This is the number of reader tickets that were collected after digital registration. After digital registration users must physically present their identification in order to gain access to our reading rooms.

We do not hold information on the cost of this process, as it is handled as part of the relevant team’s everyday business.