Coatbridge College bosses in payout row to appear before MSPs

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The bosses of a college at the centre of growing anger over an £850,000 pay-off package before it closed down have been called to appear before MSPs later this month.

The former Principal of Coatbridge College, John Doyle, and former Chair of the College, John Gray, have been asked to appear before Holyrood’s Public Audit committee on October 28.

And the head of the committee today warned he expects them to be there to give “answers”.

The payments to Mr Doyle, a member of his office staff, as well as five members of the senior management team, were “significantly higher” than official guidance, according to the public spending watchdog.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently told MSPs she was “appalled” by the pay-offs.

Public Audit Committee Convener Paul Martin said today: “The evidence we heard from the Auditor General about the serious governance weaknesses in voluntary severance arrangements at the former Coatbridge College suggested a deeply flawed decision-making process that benefited certain senior members of staff.

“As a Committee we were left with no alternative but to hold an inquiry and get answers to the questions that we – and many others – have about what went on at Coatbridge regarding severance arrangements for senior members of staff.

“I expect all those we are inviting to give evidence to do so. Only then can we get answers and consider if any further steps need to be taken.”

The Committee also expects to hear from other witnesses at the heart of the row including the Scottish Funding Council and the college’s remuneration committee. Internal and external auditors will give evidence, along with the former director of finance and the former head of Human Resources at the college.

Coatbridge College was one of three which merged to become New College Lanarkshire last year as part of a Scotland-wide drive to bring down costs across the sector.

SEE ALSO: Watchdog questions £50m college merger ‘savings’

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