The government has taken another step towards the introduction of ID cards with the appointment today of the first Identity Commissioner.
Sir Joseph Pilling is taking on the role of watchdog for the National Identity Register and monitoring the use of ID cards by public and private sector organisations. He starts in the new job on 1 October, ready for the first rollout of the controversial scheme, to people in Greater Manchester.
“The public has the right to expect the National Identity Service to be run to the highest standards. The Identity Commissioner will champion their interests, providing a strong and independent voice, holding the Identity and Passport Service to account and ensuring information collected under the service is kept securely,” said home secretary Alan Johnson.
The Identity Commissioner will report to the home secretary at least once a year on the way the National Identity Service functions are carried out and the report will be laid before Parliament.
Pilling was formerly permanent secretary to the Northern Ireland Office from 1997 to 2005. Since then, he has been involved in reviews of senior appointments in the Church of England, the Civil Aviation Authority, the 30-year rule on the release of government information and the governance of London University.