GOV.UK app unveiled to ease access to Government services

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The UK Government has unveiled a new app that will let citizens manage a range of services such as the provision of free school meals, support for family members or even changing driver licence details.

The project, which is led by the Cabinet Office, will merge the nearly 200 ways people can currently create a account into a single log-in process in order to access over 300 Government services.

The new app follows the launch of the official NHS app in 2018 which formed a central hub where users could seek health advice, book a GP appointment, read their medical records and more recently, access their Covid vaccination passport.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay unveiled plans for the GOV.UK app, which has been designed to help people access services more easily.

It was compared to similar apps created by private-sector firms that allow people to log into and access a variety of different services via their smartphone.

“Now more than ever, it is important that government responds to people’s heightened expectations about the services they use,” Barclay said.

“During the pandemic, people have had to interact with public services in a variety of new ways, including the NHS app and the vaccine booking service.

“People rightly expect Government to be data-driven and digitally literate, and this will be a priority for me in my new role.”

As part of the development of the app, the Government Digital Service (GDS) is working across all government departments to make sure as many services as possible can be integrated.

The Cabinet Office was also keen to note that it had been designed with “robust data protection principles” to protect the private information that will be available to users.

Use of the app will be optional, with people still able to access government services in different ways if they prefer.

Barclay also announced the members of the new Digital Advisory Board, which has been created to give advice to ministers and officials across Government and accelerate digitisation of services.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the app is expected to launch in late 2022, and could also eventually include the ability to send notifications to users when their driver’s licence is about to expire or if a change in policy may affect them, for example around benefit payments.

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