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The real cost of failure

I REFER to the article "Picking up the cost of Failure" (FE Focus, February 11). Let me put the record straight. To claim that the eventual costs of merging Bilston with Wulfrun College to form Wolverhampton College may run to pound;65 million is preposterous.

However, whilst this allegation is wholly inaccurate and unsubstantiated, sadly, investigations concerning the serious mismanagement of the former Bilston college's affairs will undoubtedly prove to be complex and lengthy.

The reports which finally exposed the true position at the college were commissioned at the Further Education Funding Council's request by its governors from independent auditors during 1998. I think it is widely known that the college received te worst inspection report in the history of further education.

Investigations are continuing into the past conduct of the college and in particular its labyrinthine network of companies and joint ventures.

The investigation is subject to the requirements of the West Midlands Police who are conducting an inquiry into the financial activities at the college.

In the light of this, the suggestion that the college was closed because of its equal opportunities policy is absurd. The Funding Council fully supports and promotes equal opportunities in the FE sector and its own operations.

Professor David Melville

Further Education Funding Council

Cheylesmore House

Quinton Road


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