Daf Williams, just hours after a shock resignation from the position of chair to the board of Hull College Group, has denied there has been a failure of governance and instead accused the government regulators of failing to do their jobs.

The resignation came on the day of a visit from the FE Commissioner’s team and shortly after FE Week revealed the new interim chief executive had launched an investigation into a £240,000 three-year rugby stadium naming sponsorship deal.

Read the statement from Williams, sent to FE Week, in full:

“I am very sad to be leaving a role that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Hull College has some amazing people and I am very glad to have been involved. I joined the Board as Chair two years ago, with the College already two years into intervention by the FE Commissioner taking on the challenge as a volunteer to try to help turn around the College’s fortunes. I have since then put in countless hours for free, working alongside many other volunteers on the governing body, all committed to give our time to try to make a difference.

“Sadly balancing a busy working life and these commitments have proved too much.

“I am aware of the criticism of governance at the college. I believe Hull College has a very strong governing body which has been improved greatly in recent months, but whilst I do not accept there is a failure of governance it is clear that I have been chair for two years and improvement has not been at the pace we would have hoped in that time.  

“I have a strong view that if the charge that we have failed as governors is to stick, then there is also a failure on the part of our regulators. They have had all of the same information as we have had over the last four years of intervention and if we have missed things not being done correctly then so have they. Whilst we as governors are all enthusiastic amateurs volunteering our time to try to help, they are specialist professionals from the sector, paid to spot these matters, which sadly they have not.

“As a former council leader, I have a good understanding of how intervention works in local government, where officials are embedded in the organisation they are seeking to turn around and where they genuinely work collaboratively to try to fix the problem. Sadly that does not seem to be the approach from the FE Commissioner team, where intervention is really just a form of regular inspection, making occasional visits to observe and make recommendations, then leaving for you to fend for yourself. I do hope in the future, the process for intervention is reformed, to offer more support for volunteer governors, to help them to get it right.”

Picture: Daf Williams at a Hull College Group graduation ceremony in October 2019