How to become "Identity Scheme Commissioner"
Readers may be curious to know how Sir Joseph got his job providing "independent oversight" of the ID Cards scheme, despite having worked for 20 years for the Home Office, the very department that's now actively selling ID cards.
It turns out that the government spent £42,000 on recruitment consultants and £9,000 on advertising this post in the Sunday newspapers and on the internet. Twenty people applied and six were interviewed - after which Sir Joseph, who did not apply and was not interviewed, was 'phoned at home out of the blue by his former Home Office bosses to be offered the job. He's paid £88,000 annually for a three-day week, and reports directly to the Home Secretary, the minister who's relentlessly promoting the ID cards scheme. His annual reports are vetted by the Home Secretary before publication, and he has no powers to investigate individual complaints or to punish the Home Office if it abuses the personal data that will be held in the massive database behind the ID cards scheme.
FOI request about how Sir Joseph was appointed
BBC News story about his appointment and pay
Sir Joseph's biography, including his career at the Home Office
His first report, in which he says he provides "independent oversight"
Identity Cards Act. Section 22 says what he can and can't do.