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SPID – Digital Identity System (Sistema Pubblico di Identità Digitale)

SPID (Sistema Pubblico di Identità Digitale, or Digital Identity System) is a solution for accessing public administration online services through once-only digital identity (user & password) generated by private Identity Providers. It can be used from any device (PC, tablet & smartphone) by citizens. SPID aims to improve the relationship between citizens & the public administration by expanding the digital approach in using public services.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

SPID is the new login system that allows access to online government services with a single digital identity (username and password) from any device (computers, tablets and smartphones). SPID was launched in March 2016 with the aim of simplifying and improving the relationship between citizens and bureaucracy, making digital services easier, safer and faster to use.
SPID is released by private Identity Providers (IdP), which, while respecting the rules issued by Digital Italy Agency, manage the authentication of users by ensuring full personal data protection. Once obtained, citizens can use it to access public online services: from citizen wifi to payment of school fees. In the near future the use of SPID could also be used by the private sector to provide access to their services.
By adopting a unique digital identity system, two goals have been achieved: the rationalization of access systems for public administration online services and simplification on the citizen side, favoring the simple and secure use of online services. In addition, SPID is compliant with the European Union eIDAS regulation on digital identity services.
Spreading SPID at all levels of the public administration is an important part of improving the relationship between citizens and bureaucracy, giving impetus to the development of digital citizenship. Just over 2 years after its activation, 2.823.050 digital identities have been released. 4200 public administrations are granting access to more than 4850 online services through SPID. Among the public administration that have allowed the use of SPID to access their services there are 11 regions (Italy has a decentralized system composed of 20 regions). Among the latest ones to join Basilicata, Lazio and Piedmont. Among them, Basilicata is the first region to join from south Italy, granting access to more than 10 services (including online payments and public consultations).
Several hundred municipalities that have allowed the use of SPID to access their online services, joining other important cities like Milan or Bari, Genoa and Florence. The city of Rome is already providing digital access to more than 60 services, including online payments, school registration and tax services). Recently, the Municipality of Trento (and the entire autonomous province) and the City of Bologna joined SPID giving way to the "Iperbole 2020" platform, a unique portal that ensemble all digital local public services.
SPID is a public-private partnership to grant services to citizens. SPID is a service at zero cost for the Public administration. The Digital Italy Agency defines a strict set of rules to become SPID Identity Provider, but the costs related to the maintenance of the service are borne by the Identity Providers.
The once-only digital identity system is an innovative process in the public administration providing simplification for the use of public services by the citizens. At the same time, it promotes interoperability among public administrations and secures savings in the public budget.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

The Digital Identity System is the first central project of this kind in the Italian public sector. The single digital identity is an innovative process that aims at simplifying the relationship between citizens and the various online services provided by the public administration, which so far requested a different registration for each website or/and online service. The uniqueness of the model comes also from the methodology with which SPID has been launched: it is a public-private partnership at zero cost for the public administration.
Citizens can get SPID through a series of private companies (Identity Providers); once the verification procedure is completed (which certifies the applicant's identity), credentials are generated to be used on PA's websites (Service Providers). Also the verification procedure uses many innovative forms of citizens’ authentication.

What is the current status of your innovation?

Currently the SPID system is rapidly growing in terms of adoption from public administrations as a gateway for citizens to use more their online services. Municipalities, regional governments and central authorities are involved in this fast-growing exercise, in synergy with an overall change of projection in speeding up the approach towards a digital government.
Also the number of Identity Providers has been growing in the last few months, reaching 8 private companies that adhere to the set of regulations provided by the Digital Italy Agency.
SPID was launched in the first months of 2016, as one of the priorities of the Italian Prime Minister to accelerate the simplification of online services of the public administration.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

Numerous stakeholders were involved in the process of realization and dissemination of the Digital Identity System: administrations, identity providers, service providers, and citizens, according to a participatory model open to public and private subjects. SPID is the result of a public-private partnership that merges technical creativity by the public sector with financial resources and maintenance of the service by the Identity Providers.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

Citizens can access all digital public services with one single username and password.
Government officials benefit from SPID by reducing bureaucracy and redundancy in compiling forms as SPID carries all data of the service user.
Companies will soon be able to use SPID to provide access to their digital services.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

Citizens that have registered to SPID are 2.8 milion, simplifying their online administrative procedures. All public administrations have been obliged to grant access to their online services with SPID since December 2017.
The system is constantly improving thanks to the collaboration of the developer professional community "Developers italia" - channeled to the GitHub platform - where the collaborative discussion is underway to define a first SPID design roadmap.

Challenges and Failures

The most important challenges have been the diffusion of SPID among users and the integration of the SPID authentication feature in the online services of the public administration.
To accelerate the authentication progress of citizens to SPID the Ministry of Education, together with the Digital Italy Agency and the Ministry of Culture, promoted the creation of two SPID-only services: 18App: a culture bonus for citizens born in 1998 (also confirmed for those born in 1999); and the Teacher's Charter: a personal money bonus for professional development of schoolteachers. These two services boosted the registration of more than 750,000 citizens.
Another important challenge is the sustainability of the system for the Identity Providers that bear all the costs related to the authentication and maintenance of SPID. The opening of SPID to private companies might be one of the solution in the future.

Conditions for Success

SPID is an innovation made possible by a set of conditions: a successful model of public-private partnership, and a vision to be a tool at disposal of both the public administration and the private world. The policy that imposed the use of SPID for all public administrations has relevantly helped the public administration to acquire the system in their online services.
The role of the Digital Italy Agency and the Digital Transformation Team as facilitators and boosters of the system has been pivotal in the progression of SPID making it a successful innovation.
The easy infrastructure behind SPID has helped the tool to be easily acquired by Identity Providers and Service Providers.
Multiplicity and diversity of Identity Providers makes SPID easy to be obtained by citizens.
The system is constantly improving thanks to the collaboration of the developer professional community "Developers italia" - channeled to the GitHub platform - where the collaborative discussion is underway to define a first SPID design roadmap.


SPID has high potential of replicability and adaptability in other contexts requiring the use of a digital identity. The public Digital Identity System has already been praised as a possible login tool also for public Wifi and its possible use in the private sector contributes to the innovative capacity of this tool to serve in other contexts than the public administration.
The system has the flexibility and extensibility features that make it interoperable, implementing it by applying official technical rules, contained in (beta) on Readthedocs

Lessons Learned

The use of SPID has already reached 2,800,000 citizens and more than 4,200 public administrations, securing access with one-only password and reducing accessibility barriers to online services. Future developments include:
1-Progressive adherence of digital public services to the digital identity system.
2-Development of the project and its use by citizens that shall stimulate the creation of new digital services, which are created with the aim of bringing people closer to digital culture.
3-Recovery of preceding identities in the SPID system. SPID will replace the old identification systems used individually by each PA with a single login system, that is safer and usable in every Service Provider.
4-Use of SPID by private companies, as this will increase the knowledge and use of SPID by a larger number of citizens, secure more online services to the population, and guarantee sustainability of the system, making it profitable for Identity Providers.
5-Make SPID the only national tool for access online services and stimulate participatory processes, including public consultations to foster the development of e-democracy.

Supporting Videos

Year: 2016
Level of Government: National/Federal government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

Innovation provided by:

Date Published:

18 October 2016

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