Skills Funding Agency demands answers from Nescot following FE Week probe

Skills Funding Agency demands answers from Nescot following FE Week probe

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has demanded an explanation from North East Surrey College of Technology (Nescot), after FE Week revealed evidence last week of controversial payments amounting to almost £200,000 to the principal’s husband.

A spokesperson for the agency told FE Week yesterday evening that it had requested “a report on the issue that has come to light, how it arose and what action Nescot are proposing to take”.

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Sunaina Mann

It comes just a few days after FE Week exclusively revealed the husband of Nescot principal Sunaina Mann was paid almost £200,000 in a contract that was not declared to college governors for 18 months.

We previously reported that Ms Mann received a salary of £363,000 in 2015, making her by far the highest paid college principal in the country.

Following publication on May 19 of FE Week’s story on the payments to her husband Jaswinder Singh Mann, details of the events were also picked up by The Times (pictured below right) and the Mail Online.

times nescot

FE Week revealed last week that Mr Mann was employed as a consultant by Nescot to work on its controversial partnership in Saudi Arabia, the Jeddah Female College.

The arrangement means that the couple earned £775,000 in total from Nescot over the course of two years.

However, even though Mr Mann signed his first contract with the college on September 24, 2014, Nescot’s governors were not made aware of his role until a board meeting a year and a half later, on March 18, 2016.

The college revealed to FE Week that two further contracts were signed in 2015, on June 8 and August 1, again apparently without the knowledge of the board.

A spokesperson for the college refused to confirm or deny whether the college failed to adhere to their procurement policy.

And despite repeated attempts to obtain an explanation from the chair of the Nescot FE Corporation, Professor Mark Hunt, FE Week has still currently received no comment.

But in a statement, Ms Mann said that “robust governance arrangements” had “removed any conflict of interest” from the college’s arrangement with her husband.