Learning and Skills Council chief executive Mark Haysom has resigned over the body’s troubled college building programme.
Mr Haysom said he was pre-empting the findings of the Government-commissioned report into the construction scheme. Former Audit Commission chief executive Sir Andrew Foster is investigating the LSC project’s £3 billion funding shortfall.
The Government conceded earlier this month that just eight colleges had been given the go ahead for construction. A further 71 were in limbo, despite having secured approval in principle from the LSC.
Mr Haysom said: “During my five and a half years in this role, one of the things that I have been most proud of is our college re-building programme. Thanks to the investments we have made on behalf of the Government we have been able to change the face of further education in towns and cities across England.
“It is then with huge regret that I have reached the conclusion that, because of the well-publicised difficulties with that programme, I should now announce that I am stepping down from my role as chief executive.”
He added: “Sir Andrew Foster has been asked to prepare a report on the college capital programme. I don’t need to wait for that report to be published before making my decision because it will, I’m sure, confirm what I now know – that there have been failures in the way that the LSC has managed the programme.
“No matter where those mistakes have been made, and no matter how many people have been involved in the capital programme, as the chief executive of the LSC I am, of course, finally accountable. That is why I have made my decision to step down at this time.”
Mr Haysom has been in his role for five-and-a-half years. He will walk away with about than £103,000 as payment of six months’ notice in line with his contract.
However, he is understood to have foregone a payment of up to £250,000 that he would have been entitled to when the LSC is dissolved in 2010. He will also not receive any bonus payment in relation to performance in the year to March 2009, which could have been worth up to £46,763.
The LSC has appointed Geoffrey Russell – who recently retired from KPMG, where he was a partner in the accountancy’s Public Sector Financial Management Advisory Practice – as acting chief executive.