The UK federation provides a single solution to accessing online resources and services for education and research. Participating organisations use SAML compatible technology, such as Shibboleth and OpenAthens, that adhere to comprehensive technical standards in order to connect users to resources and services.
The animation 'UK federation; what it is' was created to give anyone interested in the service an introduction to why the UK federation was created and what it enables.
About federated access
Federated access is where there are mutually agreed, trusted policies for sharing user information, resources and services. A key point is that when a user attempts to access a resource, it is their home institution that authenticates them to do so. It does so by vouching for the user’s identity, whose personal information and credentials remains by default with their host institution, thus preserving privacy.
Using one username and password to access resources across different platforms, applications and locations is called single sign-on, and has significantly reduced the administrative burden on institutions and removed barriers to access.
Access to Jisc services through single-sign-on access to resources offered by Jisc Collections
Through eduGAIN, UK federation users can access institutions and services in over 34 different countries
250 organisations offering over 350 services to over 500 participating institutions
Any of our member organisations as well as service providers offering services to the UK education sector, are eligible to participate in the UK federation. Organisations that are funded by HEFCE as well as UK further education institutions can join free of charge.
Institutions not funded by HEFCE or UK FE funders may be liable for a £1000 per annum membership charge if they are looking to register an institution identity provider platform. Those registering an service provider platform for academic purposes only (ie making their services available to other users of the federation) can do so free of charge.
Individual users do not need to separately join the service. Instead, if you are a member of a participating organisation and you have a institutional logon account, you can use the UK federation.
UK federation implementors
For information about how you can implement a UK federation compatible solution, using non-proprietary, free software, visit the Shibboleth website.
Trust and identity consultancy
Complementing the free UK federation service desk, we provide a consultancy service for bespoke support for federated identity services such as Shibboleth. Activities include installation, updates and migrations, linking to other services, troubleshooting, and sustainability advice and planning. Find out more about our consultancy service.
The following information is needed for us to manage your membership of, and or participation in, the UK Access Management federation, operated by Jisc. We’ll use it, as described in our standard privacy notice to provide the service you’ve requested, as well as to identify problems or ways to make the service better. We’ll keep the information until we are told that you no longer wish to be a member and / or participant.
This service is covered by Jisc’s ISO27001 Information Security certification.
Organisations seeking to make their resources and service available through the UK federation can either notify the UK federation that they have a third party who are registered with the UK federation to do that on their behalf, or join the UK federation themselves. For more information, visit the UK federation website.
Verification for commercial purposes
Service providers seeking to verify the affiliation of institutional members, such as students and staff, for commercial purposes - rather than the provision of academic resources, are not eligible to join the UK federation, but may interact with the service by joining VerifID.
Free Shibboleth health checks and consultancy during coronavirus
Have confidence that your students can seamlessly access all the content they need with no technical issues with Jisc's free Shibboleth health check, plus three hours of hands-on consultancy.
Free Shibboleth identity provider (IdP) health check
A scoping call - via a one-to-one scoping call, the consultancy service manager will run through a number of questions with you to help ascertain the status of your current Shibboleth IdP set-up, including:
Current software versions
Missing security patches
Operating system performance
All the attributes you need to release to allow students to access your content
The releasing attributes to essential service providers
Remote technical analysis - with your permission, Jisc can then remotely access and analyse your Shibboleth IdP, assessing the status of relevant elements
Recommendations report - once the scoping call is complete, Jisc experts will review the information and provide a summary of recommendations and proposed next steps to fix any issues you may have
Three hours of free hands-on consultancy
This includes hands-on fixing - based on the recommendations report, Jisc will agree with you what's in scope for us to fix on your behalf. The agreed fixes will be completed by Jisc within the half-day's consultancy.
A federated access infrastructure for participating UK educational organisations and education based service providers. This includes a UK federation metadata registry service with nightly updates of entity registration and a central discovery service
A helpdesk providing technical, general federated access queries and membership and registration support available by phone via the service desk 0300 300 2212 or email via firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours of service
The central discovery service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year.
The metadata registry service and helpdesk are available during the business day as defined in SLD definitions.
Membership requests will be processed within three business days of receipt of all necessary information.
Entity registrations will be processed within two business days of receipt of all necessary information for existing registrations and within five business days of receipt of all necessary information for new registrations.
Information provided to Jisc will be used as described in our standard privacy notice, to provide the service the customer has requested, as well as to identify problems or ways to make the service better. Jisc will keep the information until we are told that the customer no longer wishes to be a member and/or participate.