More proof please

10th March 2000 at 00:00
I WAS saddened to read the strident rhetoric of David Melville's letter (FE Focus, March 3).

In the article "Picking up the cost of failure" (FE Focus, February 11) the estimate of pound;65 million as the eventual cost of the Further Education Funding Council policy at Bilston Community College is based on published data (for example, the FEFC funding allocation of September 23, 1999) and cautious estimates.

However, given that Professor Melville thinks the figures "preposterous", I intend to publish the figures and the working paper on which they are largely based. Colleagues will then be able to make up their own minds on the basis for estimates. If anyone would like a copy of these figures please contact me at the address below.

With regard to the investigations, I am cuious that after a year's inquiries by the FEFC, two expensive forensic audits, Department for Education and Employment inquiries and police investigations, nothing substantive has yet emerged. If Professor Melville thinks that the estimates for the costs of the various auditors working for the council and the college, on or at Bilston Community College, are wide of the mark, could he tell us what the actual figures are? Perhaps he could also tell us what the tender procedures for these lucrative contracts were?

The above, and a number of other issues, again suggest the need for an independent inquiry into the educational and financial issues surrounding the FEFC's decision to close Bilston.

Paul Goddard-Patel

10 Woodfield Avenue



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