- THE £216,000-a-year quango chief at the centre of the school cuts debacle is set to lose his job as Michael Gove, the education secretary, prepares to face a fresh Commons onslaught.
- Tim Byles, chief executive of the body in charge of school building programmes, is being blamed by Whitehall sources for the series of errors which forced Gove to make a humiliating Commons apology. A government dossier was passed to The Sunday Times this weekend drawing attention to the size of Byles's salary and the £30m annual cost of his quango's sprawling bureaucracy.
- The move was seen as a strong signal that Gove was preparing to axe Byles and to scrap Partnerships for Schools (PfS), his quango.
Architects Journal reported that "the leak came a day before Gove made a humiliating apology to the Commons as a result of the BSF-list fiasco."
At an Education Select Committee hearing later that month, Byles said: "I told the Department (for Education) that they should check with local authorities, but this advice was not followed. We advised that it would be better to validate the data."
The Press Association reported:
- Mr Byles told the committee this advice had been given because PfS is required to hold data only on schools that have reached the procurement phase of works. While they also have data on schools that local authorities would like to enter the BSF programme, this information is ``fairly fluid.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Byles told Labour MP Nick Raynsford that he believed his phone had been hacked during the controversy:
- At the time, he was the subject of a series of negative media reports which he allegedly believes were orchestrated by Mr Coulson.
- Yesterday, a Department for Education spokesman confirmed that Mr Byles had raised concerns about “phone tampering” and calls when “no one actually spoke to him”.
- Sir David Bell, permanent secretary of the department, has written to Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, to say that the civil servant “suspected his mobile phone had been tampered with, for the purpose of intercepting calls”.
- Chris Cook and Alex Barker, School building agency chief to step down, ft.com, 19 May 2011.
- Simon Walters and Glen Owen, Education Secretary Gove scrapped £40k bonus of quango boss blamed for schools fiasco, MailOnline, 11 July 2010.
- Jonathan Oliver, Gove may school quango after blunders, Sunday Times, 11 July 2010.
- BSF cuts: Partnerships for Schools faces axe, Architects Journal, 14 July 2010.
- Boss pay deal fury, The Sun, 17 July 2010.
- Richard Vaughan, Gove and Partnership for Schools chief clash over BSF list fiasco, Times Educational Supplement, 30 July 2010.
- Alison Kershaw, MINISTERS 'IGNORED ADVICE ON PUBLISHING SCHOOLS LIST' , Press Association, 27 July 2010.
- Robert Winnett, Holly Watt and Victoria Ward, Phone hacking: 'Hacked' civil servant was in schools row, The Telegraph, 22 July 2011.