Ward makes apology to MPs

December 19, 1997

Colleges chief Roger Ward has apologised unreservedly to a Commons select committee for misleading members over evidence given to their inquiry into further education.

The education and employment select committee took the unusual step of recalling Mr Ward, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, after it emerged that he had misled the committee over a register of external interests for board members and senior officers at the association.

Mr Ward told the committee that he had wrongly informed them on November 25, when he last gave evidence, that the association had a register of interests for senior association staff. At the time, Mr Ward said that he would produce the register for the committee.

At the special hearing this week, Mr Ward said that he had mistakenly confused a personal file note on his own external interests with an official register. It emerged that the association had not ratified any such register. It did so after Mr Ward had given evidence.

Mr Ward said that the file note was known only to himself and had never been an official association register.

Mr Ward said to chair Margaret Hodge: "May I begin by apologising unreservedly to you and the committee. I was not expecting so many detailed questions about codes (of conduct) and registers, and I simply got a number of points of fact quite wrong - as my senior AoC colleagues correctly pointed out.

"There was, I assure you, no attempt wilfully to mislead the committee or my board, which has since made its own discontent quite clear to me."

Mr Ward denied misleading the committee on any other matters, either knowingly or inadvertently.

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