Thursday, 25 June 2009

File on Four

Why isn’t the failing Learning and Skills Council subject to the same penalties as failing Schools or Colleges?

The question has occurred to me in the past at a trivial level. As a College Governor I’m aware of audit requirements to tighten accountability (and to write a letter within six weeks to show it has been done) in situations in which there isn’t even a hint of impropriety. Yet I can think of a couple of occasions when I’ve sat in on meetings with LSC representatives to straighten something out and come away with the very strong impression that there would have been nothing to straighten out if the LSC had conducted itself to the same standards (and that they were not thinking of writing to us within six weeks to say what they had done about it).

But the question occurs to me again and again this month with much greater force. I listened to the File on Four account of how the vast over promising of funding for major re-buildings of Colleges has been handled. No internal mechanism existed to assess this. An internal report which uncovered looming problems with it was not passed on to those responsible. Even now the senior figure giving evidence to a House of Common’s Select Committee denies that his officials were encouraging Colleges to develop more ambitious schemes (something we know happened locally and something the official enquiry states happened nationally).

Then this week there is news of the Minister responsible replacing the Governing Body of yet another Comprehensive School with an Interim Executive Board in this case because he felt they had misused their financial discretion in paying bonuses to senior staff.

It simply doesn’t seem consistent.

The picture is a fragment among a jumble of old glass re-set at the top of a window in St Nicolas’, Great Coates.

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