North Brum 'brush-off' claim

December 10, 1999

An attempt by lifelong learning minister Malcolm Wicks to draw a line under the controversy over appointments at North Birmingham College has been dismissed as an unacceptable "brush-off" by the local MP.

Late last month Whistleblowers reported on the four-year row over the meteoric rise of Ian Douglas, promoted to deputy principal of North Birmingham College within two years of joining the college as a personnel assistant. It has now emerged that after a year and a half of ministerial attention, lifelong learning minister Malcolm Wicks has reserved judgement on the case.

In a letter to Birmingham Selly Oak MP, Lynne Jones, who is alarmed by the appointments and the alleged victimisation of the lecturer who blew the whistle, Mr Wicks wrote: "If indeed the college did fail to discharge its duty ... there is nothing that can usefully be done now to rectify the situation."

Dr Jones, an influential Labour backbencher, has urged Mr Wicks to look "more thoroughly" at the case. The college says it has been vindicated by ministers already. Want to blow the whistle?

Contact Phil Baty on

020 7782 3298

or email

phil.baty@thes.co.uk

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