A college has accepted that its former principal Sunaina Mann was unfairly constructively dismissed, after she brought her case to an employment tribunal.
North East Surrey College of Technology (Nescot) has today issued a statement in which it admits to regrets over “the circumstances in which her employment came to an end”, and revealed how an “agreed resolution” had been reached.
The college has also “made a substantial contribution towards Ms Mann’s costs,” a spokesperson added.
FE Week reported in May 2016 that Ms Mann’s husband, Jaswinder Singh, had been paid almost £200,000 in a contract that it was alleged was not declared to college governors for 18 months.
Ms Mann (pictured), who was the highest paid FE principal in the country at the time and received a salary of £363,000 in 2014/15, denied that there had been any non-disclosure.
She told FE Week that “robust governance arrangements… removed any conflict of interest”.
The Skills Funding Agency asked for a report from Nescot on the issue at the time, a request with which it complied.
Ms Mann was reported to have departed from the college by June 2016.
Today’s statement from Nescot said: “The college accepts that Ms Mann was unfairly constructively dismissed.
“Ms Mann has chosen to withdraw her claims of discriminatory treatment by the college and its officers.”
It explained she had considered that Nescot had breached her contract of employment, causing her to resign and “take up employment” as the chief executive of the Jeddah Female College of Excellence, in Saudi Arabia, which Nescot was in partnership with.
“Ms Mann made claims in the employment tribunal of unfair constructive dismissal and race discrimination,” the spokesperson said.
“Following a thorough review of the evidence, Nescot accepts that Ms Mann had no involvement in the engagement of her husband by NCL (Nescot Consortium Limited).
“All of the directors of NCL were aware of the appointment of Mr Mann, as was the previous chairman and corporation clerk and director of HR of Nescot.”
FE Week reported in May 2016 that Jaswinder Singh Mann was employed as a consultant by Nescot to work on its partnership with the Jeddah Female College.
It was alleged that Mr Mann signed his first contract with the college on September 24, 2014, but Nescot’s governors were not made aware of his role until a board meeting a year and a half later, on March 18, 2016.
According to Nescot’s financial statements for the year ending July 31, 2015, payments of £71,000 in 2014 and £106,000 in 2015 were made to Point Nemo Ltd,“a company “under the control of the principal and chief executive’s husband” for “consultancy in the role of NCL Vice Dean MIS and Funding”.
Nescot also referred in today’s statement to Ms Mann’s “remuneration”.
“All remuneration received by her prior to January 1, 2015, was approved by the board of Nescot.
“With effect from January 2015, when she was seconded to NCL in Saudi Arabia, Nescot now accepts that the aggregate remuneration was approved by the board of NCL, that the Nescot corporation clerk was fully aware of the aggregate remuneration as was the previous director of finance.”
It added the contracts with both Nescot and NCL “were drafted by lawyers on behalf of Nescot, and signed by the then chairman of Nescot, and by the chairman of NCL”.
Ms Mann said: “I am glad that Nescot have recognised that I was not treated properly in the spring of 2016 and that the circumstances in which I was forced to leave were unfair.
“Following this recognition I am pleased to say that this matter is now concluded. Despite the treatment to which I was subject I wish the college well on its important mission.”
A representative for her previously said: “In the summer of 2013 [Ms Mann] was the principal of Nescot, and a nominee director of NCL.
“There was an urgent need to address MIS systems and David Round [the company secretary and project manager at NCL] proposed the appointment of Jaswinder Mann.
“[Ms Mann] was not in support of that proposal, because she felt it better that he did not work for an organisation in which she had any involvement, but the board agreed to take forward the recommendation, noting her concern, and arrangements were put in place to ensure that there was clear independent oversight of his appointment and of his performance.”