Two letters in the Financial Times:
National commissioner will not be selling
Published: February 9 2009 02:00 | Last updated: February 9 2009 02:00
From Meg Hillier MP.
Sir, With reference to Sue Camerons Notebook
earner for old rope, February 4), the advertisement for the National
Identity Scheme commissioner makes abundantly clear that this is not
a selling job for ID cards. The commissioner will be an
independent regulator who will act in the interests of the public.
When people talk to me about identity cards, one of
their most frequent concerns is how they can be sure their data will
be secured safely. The commissioner will have oversight of this, reporting
at least once a year to parliament. The government is committed to genuine
independence and powers of scrutiny for this role.
Minister for Identity,
London SW1, UK
NIS commissioner will be restricted
Published: February 10 2009 02:00 | Last updated: February 10 2009 02:00
From Mr Andrew Watson.
Hillier is wrong to say the proposed National Identity Scheme commissioner
would report to parliament (Letters, February 9). In fact,
her government overturned amendments to the Identity Cards Act that
would have made this post accountable to parliament.
Instead, the legislation says the Commissioner
must make a report to the secretary of state, who may then exclude
material from the report before laying it before parliament.
The Act also contains a list of matters that the Commissioner
cannot review at all.
If the government is committed to genuine independence
of the NIS commissioner, why did it restrict his remit and overturn
efforts to make him or her independent of the Home Office?
One of these letters is confidence-inspiring. It is the assured work
of a responsible and well informed person.
The other is the work of one of those dotty cranks we specialise in in
the UK who cant help grumbling to the newspapers in green ink.
But which is which?
And WIBBI* the government had an unshakable grasp of its own brief?
* wouldn't it be better if