https://insidegovuk.blog.gov.uk/2014/08/21/suspending-unused-gov-uk-accounts/

Suspending unused GOV.UK accounts

The information in this blogpost may now be out of date. See the current GOV.UK content and publishing guidance.

If you're a user of the Licensing application and you've allowed your account to be suspended, email licensing-authorities@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk to get it reactivated.

GOV.UK uses a single sign-on application. It's called Signon and gives users access to the tools they use, like Whitehall Publisher, to publish content to GOV.UK. Every user who needs access has an account in Signon.

Today we’re making a change that will automatically suspend unused accounts after 45 days of inactivity.

Why we need to clean up Signon accounts

Since the launch of GOV.UK, and more recently during the transition of all departments, when a user needs access to a publishing tool we create a Signon account for them. As you can imagine, with hundreds of users across several departments and agencies, we have quite a large number of accounts.

Over time, people change positions within their organisation, move to other organisations or leave the Civil Service altogether and no longer need their account. We are usually told about this and can suspend that redundant account. When we're not told, that account remains active but isn’t used.

Email reminders before automatic suspension

We understand that some users will still need their account even after 45 days of inactivity. So we send out reminders to the user's email address at 14, 7, 3 and 1 days before suspension. The reminders give those users an opportunity to sign in, which will reactivate their account and stop the suspension.

If you’re regularly using your Signon account then you won’t receive any emails about suspension and have nothing to worry about.

What to do if your account has been suspended

If you try to sign in and receive the message that your account has been suspended, first contact a senior GOV.UK editor in your organisation (or your parent organisation). They can either unsuspend your account themselves, or use the support form to get help from the GOV.UK team.

 

60 comments

  1. Matt Gough

    Hi Lisa,

    I regularly use my 'production' sign on but not my 'preview' sign on, yet I still got the suspension message for 'preview'. Is there no way to link the two so the email doesnt get sent or do they both have to remain seperate?

    Matt

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hello Matt
      Preview and Production are 2 different environments and you have a separate account for each, hence they do need to remain separate I'm afraid.

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      • simonfj

        Lisa,

        I was reading this. "Preview and Production are 2 different environments and you have a separate account for each, hence they do need to remain separate I'm afraid".

        I'm a little lost as to why you'd have two "Single Sign Ons". Obviously these are just the first two services that a publisher will use, and I take it you will have some more (shared) services in the pipeline. (I'd be interested, if you have a list).

        Just looking at this from a(n account) management perspective, Surely these services will be federated, so you don't have to duplicate the work for each account, and then reissue more privileges as new production services come online.

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        • Lisa Scott

          Hi Simon
          Preview and Production are two distinct things, each with their own Signon, because Preview is used to test new code and features before they are released. They do not share any infrastructure or data, hence why users have separate Signon accounts for each. Hope that clarifies it.

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          • simonfj

            Thanks Lisa,

            You might be interested in this comment (which will seem a bit unrelated until you read my comment to Dyfrig). https://plus.google.com/108800828298004423563/posts/gLc2a9W1oxf

            It's quite important because (I would have thought) you will be designing a group of "federated services" for publishers (a production environment) of which these are the first two services. You'll be handling a massive increase in the number of services & publishers soon. So simplifying account management, although its usually handled by network guys, is going to become very important.

            Just wanted to flag this now, as it really is the basis of "user centric" for both production teams, and service users.

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  2. Sam Nobbs

    Hi I too am in the same posistion. I dont use preview only production.The reminder email says that if i dont sign in I wont be able to use any GOV.uk applications? Is that right ? I have signed in & reset my passphrase, but following that there was message to put in a user name & password which i could not do and could not proceed any further. I'm worried that I will lose my access to gov.uk production-will that happen?

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hello Samantha. If you don't use your Preview account, we can suspend that account. Or you can let it auto-suspend by ignoring the reminders.

      Your Production account won't be affected if you continue to use it regularly. They are 2 different environments and 2 different accounts.

      I've checked your Preview and Production accounts and you have successfully logged into both today and yesterday. If you want a more detailed discussion could you submit a Support ticket? https://www.gov.uk/support/internal

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      • Sam Nobbs

        Thank you Lisa, that all makes sense. I'll leave the preview account to be auto-suspended.

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  3. bernie caffarey

    I'm having a problem logging and clicked the contact us link, which won't let me contact you, until I log in - you can see the problem here I'm sure. Please contact me. I've reset my password but am still locked out. Thanks

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Bernie
      I've looked, and your account log suggests you've reset your passphrase for Production successfully. So you should be able to login no problems. For Preview, you've had several unsuccessful logins and your passphrase has expired. You won't be able to reset your passphrase unless you can remember your old one. Another option is to request a new passphrase by clicking the 'Forgot your passphrase?' link on the Signon login screen. Re: using the support form, you can get your Managing Editor to do this on your behalf. Hope this helps.

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  4. Susan Redfearn

    I keep getting reminders both last week and this week that unless I log onto my account it will be suspended. I have done this each time but again today have received another email informing that my account will be suspended tomorrow

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Susan
      I've checked, and you have a duplicate account under an old email address "dcsf". This is the account you're getting reminders for. I've suspended this, so you don't need to do anything.

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  5. Irene Ball

    Be really good if someone could help with changing my passphrase. I have been trying for over a week now without any success. When you click on contact us it takes you back and asks for your email and passphrase!! Anyone out there who could help?

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Irene
      Sorry you're having problems. For future, your managing editor should be able to contact us on your behalf.

      Try this advice on creating a good passphrase:
      "Use whole words or variations of whole words to create nonsensical sentences or phrases that are easy for you to remember, but hard for someone else to guess or crack."
      http://blog.lastpass.com/2013/04/how-to-create-secure-master-password.html

      Hope this helps.

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      • Irene Ball

        Lisa
        Thank you. The account has now been suspended can you direct me to someone who may be able to help with this please.

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        • Lisa Scott

          Hi Irene
          On this occasion I've unsuspended your account for you. In future, you should contact a GOV.UK editor in your organisation, or in BIS, who will be able to help you. This is usually a managing editor, also known as a GOV.UK Single Point of Contact.

          Hope that helps.

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  6. Adrian Twiddy

    I have been issued with a suspension notice. However, I have mislaid my password & so I am unable to log onto my account. I have requested a new password from the 'sign on' screen - but have heard nothing in reply. This is the second time that I have requested a new password and have not received a reply.

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Adrian
      Sorry you're having problems. Do you need an account? You last logged in 2 years ago.

      Link to this comment
      • Adrian Twiddy

        Hi Lisa,

        Yes, I need an account as we intend using 'gov.uk' considerably more than in the past.

        Regards, Adrian

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        • Lisa Scott

          Hi Adrian
          I've unsuspended your account. Your passphrase has expired, and unless you can remember the old one, you won't be able to refresh it. You should select the 'Forgot your passphrase' link. You mentioned you've not been receiving your reset emails. You account log shows that none have been sent. Can you try again?

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  7. Adrian Twiddy

    Hi Lisa,

    I have tried again and everything is okay now. Many thanks for your help.

    Adrian

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  8. Steve Wearing

    Hi Lisa,
    Could you please unsuspend my account. Thanks, Steve

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Steve, I've done this. You'll need to log in today to stop the account from being suspended again.

      Link to this comment
  9. Lucie George

    i have been on leave to come back to my account being suspended, please could this be unsuspended? thanks

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Lucie
      Your account is still active.

      Your passphrase has expired though. You'll need to be able to remember your old one to choose a new one.

      If you can't remember your old one, choose the 'Forgot your passphrase?' link.

      Hope this helps.

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  10. David Pearson

    Lisa - I can't see anything in the "logged in support form" to enable me to "unsuspend" one of our users - the closest is the "create or change" option. Is this still to come (or am I just old and blind - don't answer that)?

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi David - you've got the right place 🙂

      We could make this clearer, we'll look into that.

      Link to this comment
      • David Pearson

        Thanks! I was hoping it might become easier for both you and me... 🙂

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  11. Gemma Farnsworth

    Hi,

    I've just discovered my account has been suspended too. Is it possible to unlock this?

    Many Thanks
    Gemma

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Gemma
      I've unsuspended you. You'll need to login today to reactivate it.

      Link to this comment
      • Gemma Farnsworth

        Thank you Lisa, I now have access. Is it possible to let me know who our departmental contact is. I am usually the person people throughout the council contact if they have a problem but yet I have restricted access. I have a feeling our contact has been left several years now and is the person who passed it on to me. Any help would be great,

        Thanks

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        • Lisa Scott

          Hi Gemma
          Licensing users should contact David Williams with any problems.

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  12. Aimee Watkins

    Hi,
    My account has been suspended and I cannot use the "suport form" link to reset my account because this tells me my account has been suspended and will not let me go any further.
    Please can you help as I am concerned that there are pending applications waiting to be processed.

    Many Thanks
    Aimee

    Link to this comment
    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Aimee, you're unsuspended now. You'll have to log in before the end of the day to complete the reactivation process.

      Link to this comment
  13. Mimi White

    could you unsuspend my account please

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Mimi
      Your account is active, you are not suspended. You can sign in as normal.

      Link to this comment
  14. Mimi White

    Please add a dot between my first name and surname (email address). Thanks

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  15. Mimi White

    All emails sent to my .gcsx.gov.uk in the last week have been rejected so I thought it had something to do with my account being suspended.

    Link to this comment
    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Mimi
      The email address we have for you is already formatted like you suggest. Rather than discussing your account on this blog post, could you contact David Williams, or fill in the form here: https://www.gov.uk/contact/govuk

      Link to this comment
  16. Mimi White

    Thanks, i'll do that.

    Link to this comment
  17. Huw Joynson

    Hi Lisa, Please could you unsuspend me. I had reminders about the preview environment that I let lapse as I never use it but the production environment has also locked without any e-mails arriving in my inbox. Is this right?

    Huw

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    • Lisa Scott

      Huw, I see you're now unsuspended. You should have received emails - could you check to see? Thanks.

      Link to this comment
  18. Diane McHugh

    Hi. I'm having the same problem as Aimee above. My account was suspended but it won't allow me to access the support form because of the suspension. Can you unsuspend me please?

    Link to this comment
    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Diane
      There are several people at HMRC who can help you with this. Try Diane Oliver, Yvonne Clydesdale, Paul Easton, Jan Stewart, Dave Taylor or Etain Fitzpatrick.

      Link to this comment
  19. Hong Nguyen

    Hi Lisa,

    My organisation's senior editor has submitted a ticket to get my account unsuspended but is there any quicker way of doing this?

    Thanks,

    Hong

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  20. Gemma Farnsworth

    Hi Lisa,

    Please can you unsuspend my account.

    Thanks

    Gemma

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Gemma
      Please can you contact David Williams with this query? Thanks.

      Link to this comment
  21. Paul Wright

    Every time I try to log into Gov.UK.sign it does not recognise my passphrase (even though I know what it is and am confident that I have entered it correctly) and the only way I can sign in is to click "forgot my password" and set a new one.

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    • Lisa Scott

      Hi Paul
      I checked your account log and I can see that you did log in successfully (without resetting your password) twice in September and October.

      If you're still having problems, could you send us a Zendesk ticket about this please?

      Link to this comment
  22. Emily

    My account has been suspended due to 45 days of inactivity.

    I wonder if my account could be re-set.

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  23. Sue Rowbotham

    Unfortunately both my accounts were suspended over Christmas.

    Would it be possible for you to un-suspend them?

    Much appreciated.

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  24. Giles Mason

    Hi,

    My account is suspended and I have tried to click on the 'Support Form' link referred to in the section 'What to do if your account has been suspended' above. This promptly takes me to a screen instructing me to log on to my (suspended) account in order to access the form! Genius!

    Could you please remove the suspension from my account?

    Many thanks.

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    • Keith Emmerson

      Hi Giles,
      Sorry to hear about this.

      I've unsuspended your account, so you should be able to sign in again.

      Best wishes,
      Keith

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      • Giles Mason

        Hi Keith,

        Many thanks but just tried - still saying suspended. Could you have another go and I'll attempt to log in again?

        Best wishes,

        Giles.

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        • Giles Mason

          Hi Keith,

          Could you please unsuspend my account? (See above).

          Thanks,

          Giles

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  25. Kate Banyard

    My account is suspended and I have tried to click on the 'Support Form' link referred to in the section 'What to do if your account has been suspended' above. This promptly takes me to a screen instructing me to log on to my (suspended) account in order to access the form!

    Could you please remove the suspension from my account?

    Many thanks.

    P.S. I got all of my suspension reminders whilst on leave over the Christmas period. Perhaps it might be an idea to to create the first or an additional reminder earlier than 14 days for instances where people are on leave for a fortnight.

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  26. Edward Ridout

    Hi my account was suspended and I've asked for it to be unsuspended a few weeks ago but that came to nothing. I need access again so please could you lift the suspension?

    Thanks

    Ed

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