§ Mr. Nicholas Bennett
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects the consultants appointed to examine the management and financial control arrangements at the polytechnic of Wales to report.
§ Mr. David Hunt
I have now received the report which my predecessor commissioned from Price Waterhouse. I am placing a copy of the report in the Library.
The report identifies a number of management, budgeting and financial control deficiencies which call for immediate action by the polytechnic or Mid Glamorgan county council to improve the running of the polytechnic and its interface with the local authority. Copies of the report have been made available to the polytechnic and the local authority and I look to them to take early action to consider and put these recommendations into effect.
The consultants have also reported that effective dialogue between the polytechnic and its maintaining authority have come close to breaking down at most levels. That is a very serious situation, one which the consultants consider is highly detrimental to the efficient and effective operation of the polytechnic and potentially damaging to its image in the higher education market place. The report considers the options for the future status of the polytechnic against this unsatisfactory background and recommends that my Department should take over responsibility for its funding.
I will be giving careful consideration to the recommendation that there should be a change in the polytechnic's status as a local authority maintained institution. In doing so I shall be taking account of the polytechnic's special position as the largest higher education institution in the local authority sector in Wales and considering the implications of such a step for the rest of the sector.