'Is anyone to be accountable'

10th November 2000 at 00:00
THE three key figures in the SQA are all criticised to varying degrees. Ron Tuck, the former chief executive who came from the Inspectorate, was said to have "modest" management experience for someone in charge of 550 full-time staff and an annual budget of pound;27 million. One director suggested many of the problems stemmed from his "consensual" approach.

Jack Greig, head of the operations unit, was found culpable in not adequately preparing for the exams. But Deloitte and Touche said Mr Tuck and David Elliot, former head of awards, must also share responsibility because they were aware of allegations made about Mr Greig's "management style and operational effectiveness". Yet they took the risk of retaining him in post and "there is little evidence to suggest that they developed altrnative strategies to address this potentially serious weakness".

The report expresses "surprise" at the limited interrogation of senior management by the SQA board, given the members' width of experience.

One SQA director at least was increasingly alarmed and sent three e-mails to senior colleagues which began: "I'm reluctant to press the panic button but I am becoming very worried." Later he wrote: "I have found recent eventsdevelopments very disturbing and I have grave doubts about August 10 (the issue date for the results). . . is anyone to be held accountable for current difficulties?"

Finally: "We seem to have lurched from crisis to crisis in recent weeks with problems coming out of the woodwork and instant reaction to make up for a lack of planning."

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