An inquiry has been launched into the “serious failing” of appointing
Peter Riddell revealed that the Office for
“Without any doubt this row makes a strong case for more extensive due diligence inquiries by departments in any case of doubt about a candidate,” Riddell wrote in a
Young’s ill-fated appointment to the university regulator’s board was
Riddell said the report to ministers “indicates that Mr Young was judged as an appointable candidate by a properly constituted panel chaired by Sir Michael Barber, chair of the Office for Students”, before being named to the board.
“The subsequent controversy has, however, highlighted flaws in the process,” Riddell wrote, pointing to ministers’ claims that they were unaware of Young’s offensive tweets. “This was a serious failing of due diligence,” he added.
“I am now seeking the full papers on recent appointments to the board of the Office for Students from the Department for Education so I can establish in detail what occurred and whether this was in line with the government’s governance code.”
Riddell said his main focus was on the procedures. “The merits or otherwise of the appointment of Mr Young and other candidates is a matter for ministers, and not for me,” he wrote.
Riddell’s move comes as Young finds himself embroiled in further controversy over his attendance at a secretive
Young said he attended the UCL conference “only for a few hours on a Saturday”, to gather anecdotal material for a speech he was giving to a conference covering similar topics in Canada.
The controversy puts a spotlight on Young’s role as director of the
Asked if the NSN’s board of trustees had discussed Young’s position, a spokesperson said: “The board has complete confidence in Toby Young as NSN’s director.”
Young was appointed in October 2016 by the network’s trustees, who cited his successful co-founding of the West London free school. Young receives about £90,000 a year as director, according to the NSN’s accounts.
The revelations surrounding Young come at a delicate moment for the NSN. The bulk of its funding comes from the DfE, and last month the department opened its tender to renew the free school promotion role from April 2018, offering up to £3.4m for two years. Tender applications close on 19 January.
But questions also remain over the NSN’s role, as no new free school bids have been approved by the DfE since before