Proof of Age Standards Scheme

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PASS (the Proof of Age Standards Scheme) is a government-backed scheme in the UK that gives young people a valid and accepted form of proof of age identification. The scheme is supported by the Home Office, the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Set up in January 2003, it acts as an umbrella system: it does not itself issue identification cards, but various proof of age card schemes operate under the PASS umbrella, and issue cards bearing a PASS hologram.

The main benefit for retailers is the fact they know that if a young person presents them with a card with a PASS hologram on it, they know it is a reliable and accurate proof of age. This is useful for those that sell products or services with an age restriction, such as cigarettes and alcohol.

Many local councils offer proof of age cards with the PASS hologram to young people. There are also a few national schemes: as of 2010 they were ValidateUK, CitizenCard, and Young Scot. Discontinued schemes include the Portman Group's card, Connexions Card, UreLife, and ProofGB.

It is the responsibility of sellers not to supply alcohol, tobacco, etc. to people below the legal age. Checking a proof of age card protects them against inadvertently selling to under-age people who look older. Some places requiring proof of age will not accept some of the cards available.[1]

Most retailers should accept proof of age cards bearing the PASS hologram. Where a refusal does occur, the issuers of the PASS-accredited cards like to be informed in order to investigate and educate the retailer on the merits of the scheme.

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