Cash-row chief's pay is to be reviewed

15th November 1996 at 00:00
A committee has been set up to fix salary of chairman of the Further Education Development Agency. Lucy Ward reports. The Government-funded further education agency at the centre of a row over disclosure of its chairman's salary has set up a committee to decide his pay and the earnings of senior staff.

The new three-member remuneration committee of the Further Education Development Agency is to meet shortly to carry out the first review of salaries in the organisation.

The Pounds 20,000 salary of FEDA chairman Ken Young was set by the Education and Employment Secretary Gillian Shephard when he took up the post as the agency was being created in 1994.

Senior staff, in post for more than a year, have not yet had their pay reviewed.

The TES revealed last month how Mr Young and managers at the agency had come under pressure from key members of the FEDA board who claimed they had never been told he was being paid for the six-days-a-month post. The Association of Colleges claimed the news added weight to its case that colleges should be free to pay governors.

In the first FEDA board meeting since the revelations, Mr Young is understood to have issued a statement in which he denies his payment had ever been kept secret and suggests that allegations that the board had not been told appeared to have been leaked to The TES to cause him or FEDA embarrassment.

Some board members have said they believed he received no remuneration for his work as chairman because FEDA is a charity and cannot pay its trustees. In fact, Mr Young is paid through a subsidiary company, FEDA Trading Ltd, under a legal arrangement approved by Mrs Shephard.

In his statement, echoing a letter to last week's TES, Mr Young says his remuneration has "always been fully reflected in all relevant finance reports to the FEDA and FTL boards", though neither he nor support staff had thought it necessary to draw attention to it again.

However, he acknowledges that, with hindsight, "it would have been prudent to have invited board endorsement" after the source of his payment transferred from the Further Education Funding Council to FTL in April 1995.

It is understood that in his statement, Mr Young expresses disappointment and surprise that no one concerned over the pay issue had spoken to him directly. And he dismisses the validity of comparisons, drawn by the Association of Colleges, between his remuneration as chairman of a Pounds 7 million organisation and the ban on colleges, often with far higher turnovers, paying their board members.

Mr Young notes: "FEDA is not a college; its chairman has a different set of responsibilities from college chairs of governors".

The chairman is also understood to have left open at the board meeting the question of whether he will offer to stay for a second three-year term in the post, an appointment determined by the secretary of state. However, he refers in his statement to "the appointment of my successor from April 1997 or thereabouts". Mr Young could not be contacted for comment this week.

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