Former senior QAA man claims unfair dismissal

April 10, 1998

A former Quality Assurance Agency assistant director is taking the QAA to industrial tribunal, claiming unfair dismissal and breach of contract.

Mike Williams, 61, was made redundant by the QAA last November after six years' service with the Higher Education Quality Council and the agency.

He says he was told by John Randall, the QAA's chief executive, that his post was no longer a full-time job, due to the introduction of a new quality assurance system.

But he claims that staff contract agreements made last year for former HEQC staff to transfer to the QAA should have guaranteed him a job until at least July 31 this year.

A letter sent to him by John Stoddart, former HEQC chairman and vice-chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University, confirmed that this had been HEQC's intention, he says.

Mr Williams will be seeking compensation for loss of five months' pay and five months' pensionable service at the tribunal due to take place on April 16 and 17. He says if he wins, he may pursue a civil action against Mr Randall.

He said: "My argument is that I was made redundant when there was not a redundancy situation. The agency has been recruiting people because so many of its staff have left and it is trying to introduce a new system."

He claims Mr Randall put pressure on him to leave after he wrote to QAA chairman Christopher Kenyon complaining about Mr Randall's intervention in decisions made by the agency's degree awarding powers committee.

Mr Williams, who was secretary of the committee, objected to Mr Randall's insistence that the committee's decision to approve Bolton Institute's application for university status should be referred to the QAA board.

He says this amounted to a change in the committee's terms of reference and claims this caused five members of the committee to resign.

Mr Randall declined to comment.

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