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Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is an open standard for securely exchanging information about identities. All exchanges between the entities in the GOV.UK Verify federation use SAML.

How SAML works with GOV.UK Verify

SAML messages take the form of requests and responses. Messages can contain assertions about the user’s identity. GOV.UK Verify uses the following types of assertion:

  • identity assertions – contain information about the user
  • authentication context assertions – contain information related to how authentication was carried out, for example, the level of assurance
  • fraud event assertions – contain identifiers related to an identified fraud detected by the identity provider

The SAML profile defines these assertions: