A "small number of citizens" will be issued ID cards in late 2009, says the Home Office. These will be the throngs of people who can't wait for ID cards discovered by Jacqui Smith earlier this month, when she said she wanted to "find a way to allow those people who want a card sooner to be able to pre-register their interest as early as the first few months of next year."
One trusts that Smith will be making sure that all of the New Labour MPs who voted for the scheme will be putting their names down for a personal (as if...) Identity Donor Card in Q1 2009.
Recruiting these and members of the general public will be one of the first tasks for Vince Gaskell, who is to join the Identity and Passport Service next year in the role of executive director for New Service Implementation. Gaskell is currently chief executive of the Criminal Records Bureau at a salary of £140-145,000 (PDF), and will, according to IPS chief executive James Hall, help IPS "build its relationships with the many public and private organisations which will use passports and identity cards as a core part of their personal security and identity assurance regimes."
Gaskell describes his five years at the CRB as "hugely enjoyable and successful". As well he might - he has presided over the expansion of a compulsory vetting dragnet that in a few years could cover 14 million people, raking in the associated fees along the way. So there are clear synergies with a business that will be extending compulsion to 70 million people.
The first ID cards are scheduled to be issued to non-EEA foreign nationals next week (25th November), followed by airside workers at London City and Manchester airports (strikes permitting) from autumn 2009, and young people (on a voluntary basis) from 2010. ®