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ID cards: the first year report

The czar reports

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Sir Joseph Pilling, the ID commissioner who oversees the ID card scheme, said he is generally satisfied with progress after the first year but it was too soon to give it a clean bill of health.

In a 28-page report presented to Parliament yesterday by Home Secretary Alan Johnson Pilling said: "my initial reaction is to be reassured rather than alarmed. A lot of work remains to be done and some tricky issues are not yet resolved." He said his early impression was that the Identity and Passport Service was doing "a pretty good job".

He said: "More than in most places in Government staff understand why security needs to be taken seriously." Pilling has worked for the Home Office since 1966.

Pilling has previously expressed concerns about the decision to move from a temporary system to a longer-term one in 2012, assuming the project survives the election.

Pilling said: "If I become concerned about any aspect of the NIS I will not hesitate to write to the Home Secretary immediately. He, of course, would then have to pass the report on to Parliament.”

He also said he had written twice to NO2ID and would have welcomed a chance to meet them, he has also discussed his work with shadow Home Secretary Damian Green.

He also noted that Manchester and London City airports had still to sign formal agreements on data sharing.

Pilling has also met Sir Peter Gibson, Intelligence Services Commissioner, who oversees use of the National Identity Register by spooks.

He has a budget of £565,000 for setting up his office and running it until March 2010. ®

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