A new national accreditation scheme for proof of age cards could be up and running as early as next summer. Bill Moyes, British Retail Consortium director general, said 17 industry bodies and companies ­ including the Association of Convenience Stores, the Newsagents' Federation and the Brewers and Licenced Retailers' Association ­ had agreed criteria for setting up a PASS standard. He said: "It was surprisingly easy to reach agreement on the essential ingredients of the scheme." Stakeholders agreed the government's proposals for a Connexions card for 16-year-old students did not go far enough. They want to issue a credit card sized laminated card with colour photo, date of birth, name in full and a hallmark to all 16 year olds. This could be developed into a smartcard incorporating other personal information. Moyes said: "We calculate it will cost £90,000 to implement the system nationwide and we are looking for government funding towards start­up costs, rather than asking industry and card issues to bear the costs." PASS proposals have so far been endorsed by the All Party Retail Industry Group chaired by Barbara Follet, and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group chaired by John Grogan. Members of both groups will be urging fellow MPs to sign an Early Day Motion to put the matter to Parliamentary debate by Christmas. Cards endorsed by the new scheme will feature a PASS logo easy for retailers to spot. Asda trading standards manager Phil Dalton, who represented retail interests on the PASS steering group, said even the most diligent operator could still be caught out with staff having to make subjective judgements. Andrew Chevis, chief executive of CitizenCard, who was also on the steering group, welcomed the initiative. But he called for a phased implementation: "We will need a lead in time, there is a huge potential problem with retailers turning away the 500,000 proof of age cards already in circulation. We need to phase out identity cards which don't conform over an agreed period of perhaps a year." {{NEWS }}