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Whistle-blower backs college inquiry result

The governor who blew the whistle on mismanagement and a cover-up at Derby Wilmorton College has accused the Colleges' Employers' Forum of trying to rubbish the Government inquiry into the scandal.

Brian Bonsall says there was dismay at Wilmorton after legal advice to the CEF, disclosed in The TES last week, concluded that Professor Michael Shattock's damning report for the Further Education Funding Council is legally flawed. The advice says the Government failed to support the country's 6,000 college governors with proper guidelines, and that the Shattock inquiry was a "Court of the Star Chamber" because it took evidence in private.

Mr Bonsall, the staff representative and branch chairman of the college lecturers' union NATFHE, said the CEF should back the report, which had been welcomed at Wilmorton. "The CEF should not be looking for loopholes . . . it should be acting, in return for its membership subscription, in the best interests of the college. The vast majority of the staff want the report implemented in full."

Minutes of governors' meetings show that Mr Bonsall and another governor, Terry Kelsall, repeatedly tried to prevent financial mismanagement by reminding colleagues of the need to obey the college's articles of government. "It would appear that the rest of the board chose to ignore all advice," Mr Bonsall said.

Roger Ward, chief executive of the CEF, said it was replying to the Shattock report on behalf of all colleges, not particular interest groups, and would publish a response based on comments from more than 80 members.

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