Gordon Marsden MP questions top SFA and NAS departures

Gordon Marsden MP has sent a letter to the skills minister questioning the departures of Simon Waugh, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and Geoff Russell, chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

Mr Marsden, shadow minister for further education, skills and regional growth, has asked why the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) isn’t “well underway” with finding their replacements.

“The information provided by BIS suggests Geoff Russell informed the Department of his desire to move on last August,” the letter states.

“If so, why was the Department not well underway with the process of appointing a successor before his departure was announced?

“As I’m sure you agree, at a time of change for the sector, not least with the introduction of loans for FE students on the immediate horizon, it is vital that his position is quickly filled.”

Further questions sent to John Hayes MP include the role that Mr Russell had in creating the Employer Investment Pilots, announced by David Cameron last November.

Mr Marsden has also asked if BIS if they will be changing the number or hierachy of staff at both the SFA and NAS.

The letter states: “In light of the programme of savings being implemented at NAS, is the Department considering any revision of the structure of senior positions in order to meet the required efficiency savings from BIS agencies?

What implications are there for ongoing work pressures for regional directors at NAS who are already under pressure from efficiency savings and who will be covering the day to day work of the Chief Executive while a successor is being appointed?”

Mr Marsden adds: “What guidelines will the Department put in place to ensure any future heads of the NAS remain responsible for both the quality and standard of Apprenticeships?”

The shadow FE minister has asked for a response from Mr Hayes as soon as possible.

(You can read the full letter here.)