The Home Office is working with companies to encourage them to use ID cards for verifying the identities of their staff and customers.
A working group of 50 organisations, including major banks, pharmaceutical companies and the Royal Mail, have over the past 12 months been investigating how the cards could be used in business.
Employers are likely to use ID cards to check the identity of new employees against the central population register to ensure they are entitled to work, the Home Office said.
One of the first applications will be to use ID cards to automate checks against the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), reducing the turnaround time from four months to 72 hours.
“More than 500 people last year appealed their disclosure and 500 people were given the wrong record,” said Katherine Courtney, ID cards programme director at the Home Office. “The CRB has worked with us on a complete redesign.”
Government departments would be earlier adopters of ID card applications – for example, for secure entry, or authentication to computer systems.
The Home Office plans to set up an accreditation system to vet which organisations have access to the central database. The scheme will regulate the level of verification that organisations are allowed use.