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No secrets over chairman's pay

From Ken Young.

The twin themes of Lucy Ward's article (FE Focus, October 25) concerned allegations that my remuneration was kept secret from the board of the Further Education Development Agency, of which I am chairman, and that the fact of my being paid was inconsistent with college chair governors being unpaid. I hope this letter may correct some and misunderstandings in the article.

The issues of whether and how much I should be paid were decided by the Education and Wales Secretaries when they appointed me in 1994 as chairman-designate to help establish FEDA. They had regard to the fact that FEDA would not be a college; that its chairman would have a different set of responsibilities from college chairs'; that the relevant benchmarks for FEDA, as a national body, would be other relevant national bodies; and that my pay on a basis approved by the Charity Commission should follow the well-established principles for such bodies. As for the mechanics of payment, I was on the FEFC payroll until FEDA was formally established as a charity in April 1995 from which time I have been paid as chairman of FEDA Trading Limited (FTL), FEDA's trading subsidiary, with the approval of the Charity Commission.

There has been no secret or concealment. I was appointed and my pay fixed before the board was appointed. The board first met in September 1994 and, as board minutes confirm, it was as soon as its December 1994 meeting that the board considered and approved a draft FEDA budget which explicitly identified my own remuneration, since when it has always been fully reflected in all relevant finance reports to the FEDA and FTL boards. Perhaps it would nevertheless have been prudent to have invited board endorsement for it when I was moved from the FEFC to the FTL payroll, but because I had always understood my pay to have been fixed for the full (three-year) term of my appointment, neither I nor others regarded it as a "live" issue.

These being the key facts, I can only assume a lapse of memory by anyone who might have given Lucy Ward quite different impressions.

KEN YOUNG Chairman, Further Education Development Agency, Dumbarton House, 68 Oxford Street, London W1.

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