College whistleblowers could be guaranteed anonymity under proposals to set up an independent body which were being considered by the Nolan committee as The TES went to press.
Many colleges managers write confidentiality clauses into employment contracts imposing restrictions which the Public Accounts Committee recently dubbed "gagging clauses".
Lord Nolan is understood to want a complete rethink of such contracts, with a clearer guidance on the rights of staff to raise concerns without fear of victimisation or dismissal. In the case of disputes which governors cannot resolve there would be also be an outside independent appeals body.
The Further Education Funding Council is also expected to be asked to produce a code of practice on commercial confidentiality and encourage individual colleges to be as open as possible.