Secure money saver

How many confidential or official documents must be sent by the post? Bank statements, payslips, licence renewals, invoices,… Why can’t they be sent electronically? The over-riding reason is to guarantee a real address.

The “Private and Confidential” sticker is irrelevant once it has been delivered to the household, but the sender has done as much as they can – or have they? Shouldn’t the recipient have the choice of asking for such documents being sent to a secure, encrypted, email inbox?

The benefits to the recipient are:

  • Password, or token, protection to keep mails private and confidential.
  • Correspondence filed electronically
  • Readable from any location
  • Fewer paper cuts

The benefits to the sender, often public sector organisations, are far greater:

  • Reduced postal charges; 12 payslips a year must cost at least £2. That’s £2000 if you have a thousand pension payments to make.
  • Guaranteed delivery; there’s an audit trail to see if a document has been delivered and opened.
  • Interception free delivery and fewer non-delivery complaints to manage.
  • Ability to implement closed invoicing and payment processes with minimal intervention from administrators.

So here is a business proposition for the Local Authorities  (LAs) or the Post Office. Offer citizens a free, secure, encrypted, email inbox on a GCloud service. Offer any public or private sector organisation a secure, encrypted, traceable, email service at a sustainable annual fee. Some citizens may also wish to subscribe to a secure Web-based outbox for replying to secure inbox messages, or even to initiate communications.

The key to success is to link a secure email address with a property and a person.   Local Authorities have knowledge of the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and at least one person responsible for paying Council Tax. They could minimise the risk of fraud by sanity checking the number of secure email accounts at each property.  LAs must lead on this innovation. There’s lots of work to do on the detail, but the good thing is that there’s an Agile solution because the basic facilities are available out of the box. Quarkside is trialling them now.

At some time in the future, this service could stimulate interest from the Electoral Registration Transformation Programme (ERTP, IVR and EIR are among the abbreviations). You read it here first.



  1. We couldn’t agree more about the cost, time and compliance risk reduction that a ‘secure’ online service would provide government and businesses and the benefits of convenience that it would provide citizens and consumers.
    The key is to first establish ‘legal starting points’ for individuals and organisations so that each are assured (through third party validation) that they are dealing with a Trusted Relationship.
    All transactions (data, documents, files, electronic signatures, audit trail etc) would be held in a uniquely encrypted, time stamped container in transit and in storage with only the participants able to open regardless of their location or device.
    Legal Certainty and Evidential Weight needs to be embedded in the case of dispute and to provide assurance that regulatory compliance has been adhered to.
    That is what PAOGA has built and is presenting to government, under the Id Assurance programme, and the Financial & Legal sectors who have publicly acknowledged that ‘the pen is our enemy’ and their reliance on wet signatures on hard copy is an out dated and inefficient ‘habit’ which needs addressing in todays’ economic climate.
    See http://blog.grahamsadd.com/2011/02/paoga-digital-document-exchange.html and we can talk some more.

    Comment by Graham Sadd — 29/10/2011 @ 5:21 pm | Reply

  2. You have provided a reasonable option as one of many possible starting points for trusted transactions. The technology can provide, but we haven’t got full understanding in our national or international legislators.

    Where is the political forum that can both educate and enable progress? I am sure we have both tried, but the message must come from many more directions. Somehow I don’t think we can muster enough people to camp at St Paul’s to make our our points.

    Comment by lenand — 30/10/2011 @ 9:28 am | Reply

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