Coatbridge College was ‘advised against’ payoff

Coatbridge College. Picture: Google

Coatbridge College. Picture: Google

3
Have your say

Paymasters who signed off a controversial £304,000 severance deal to a departing college principal were advised the payout was against official guidelines, a former college director and lawyer told MSPs.

Paymasters who signed off a controversial £304,000 severance deal to a departing college principal were advised the payout was against official guidelines, a former college director and lawyer told MSPs.

I made the guidance available

Lorraine Gunn, former director of human resources at Coatbridge College

John Doyle, former principal of Coatbridge College, received a 30-month severance deal after he left his £116,000 a year job against Scottish Funding Council (SFC) advice that no one should receive more than 13 months.

The payout was criticised by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, MSPs and Scotland’s auditor general, who said the SFC guidance appeared to have been deliberately withheld.

Mr Doyle said the guidance was available on the college intranet – but members of the remuneration committee that signed off the deal said this was “absolute nonsense”. Lorraine Gunn, former director of human resources at Coatbridge College, told Holyrood’s public audit committee yesterday that she directed the paymasters to the guidance herself.

Ms Gunn said: “I made the guidance available. There was definitely a conversation in the remuneration committee when I came into the room, where the chair of the board discussed the conversation that he had with [former SFC chairman] Mark Batho.”

Paul Brown, former partner at law firm Biggart Baillie who scrutinised the pay-off, said the paymasters were aware of Mr Batho’s advice strongly encouraging them “to stay within the parameters for the voluntary severance arrangements”.

Coatbridge College was later merged into New College Lanarkshire, which investigated whether Mr Doyle’s severance package could be recovered but was advised that any legal challenge would be likely to fail.

Back to the top of the page