The chair of a new board established by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to ensure transparency was appointed without an open and competitive application process, FE Week can reveal.
The SFA has announced that Burton and South Derbyshire College principal Dawn Ward will chair its data and management information advisory group, which aims to “ensure the SFA’s data requirements remain open and transparent”.
The SFA conceded it had not opened up the application process for the unpaid advisory role, but it declined to justify the move, prompting criticism of an old boys’ network impression.
A spokesperson said: “Ms Ward has been asked by the SFA to chair this group which will be made up of representatives and stakeholders from the FE sector and skills sector.”
Ms Ward said: “I am pleased to support the SFA’s commitment to making data and information more transparent.”
Lindsay McCurdy, chief executive of Apprenticeships4England said: “All appointments for such high profile roles should be open for all in the sector to apply.
“This will take away the old boys’, or girls’ club, impression which rightly or wrongly is that which comes across.”
It comes after the Education and Training Foundation was criticised in August last year for also not holding a competitive application process for several senior posts.