Shameful injustice

23rd January 2004 at 00:00
As a former employee of the old Bilston Community College who left some five years ago this November, the long silence on the issue of the legal battle between the Learning Skills CouncilFurther Education Funding Council and the previous auditors at the college has been deafening!

We were told more than 18 months ago that the LSC was pursuing a pound;25 million claim against the auditors Deloitte and Touche. Moreover, the Parliamentary Select Committee was very keen to see the proper restoration of public funds.

Now it slips out that the case has been "settled out of court". If this is the case, why have those former employees of the college whose names, careers, families and livelihoods have been sullied, and, in many cases, destroyed, not - at the very least - even received the courtesy of an acknowledgement of this fact?

As somebody who has struggled to work full-time in the years since leaving the college and who has two young children to support, one of whom was just two-years-old when I was made redundant by the college, I find the arrogance of the government agencies involved in this case, monumental.

I am currently on long term sick leave with depression which I attribute directly to the anguish caused by the debacle and to the continuing feeling of failure and the public shaming that occured at the time of the college's inspection and closure.

As we know, the police investigation into Bilston drew a blank and all staff were cleared of any illegal activities. If now the legal battle five years on between the LSCFEFC and the auditors has indeed been settled out of court, this clearly implies that the case against the college was unfounded in the first instance, the massive redundancies that ensued at the college unnecessary and the considerable distress that has been caused was shameful.

In the interests of public accountability and out of respect to thousands of staff, students and friends of Bilston Community College, surely it is right that these matters are drawn out into the public domain. Natural justice surely demands this.

Quite what justice can be provided to the staff, families and relatives who have been blighted by the whole saga of Bilston Community College is not known!

Name and address supplied See viewpoint, right

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