Student loans company chairman sacked
The chairman of the beleaguered Student Loans Company was sacked by ministers, it emerged today.
Chief executive Ralph Seymour-Jackson has also stepped down after new universities minister David Willetts indicated he had "no confidence" in him, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said.
Mr Willetts asked chairman John Goodfellow to leave and told him that while it was a matter for the board, he had no confidence in Mr Seymour-Jackson.
It comes after a healthcheck of the SLC - ordered after last year's widespread delays to payments - found there are still causes for concern.
Tens of thousands of students faced delays to their loan and grant payments last year as the SLC struggled to keep up with demand.
A damning report into the delays, published at the end of last year, found there had been "conspicuous failures" which had a "far-reaching impact" on students.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said: "Universities Minister David Willetts asked Mr Goodfellow to step down and indicated to him that while it is a decision for the board, he had no confidence in Mr Seymour-Jackson."
A check-up ordered by the previous government today concluded that it was "surprised by the lack of focus and urgency" in addressing the recommendations made in Professor Sir Deian Hopkin's report in November.
The Hopkin report laid blame on technical, management and services failures at the company for the "poor experience" of the many students using the system.
PricewaterhouseCooper's healthcheck found that as of the middle of April, 264,000 applications had been registered - around 30% of the expected total of 880,000 this year.
Of those registered, 114,000 have been processed for payment, 117,000 are pending and 25,000 are currently being dealt with.
It means the SLC will need to deal with a maximum of 760,000 applications in around 100 working days up to the end of September, assuming that all applications are received by the deadline.
The report also found that the SLC's call centres are short of 100 people needed to meet call targets at the peak of applications.
And the company has failed to provide their customers with assurances they need to rebuild the relationships that were damaged by last year's events.
The SLC's executive team is "under-resourced, stretched and unable to give the breadth of leadership and direction required through the next five months of this year," it says.
The report concludes: "The resilience of the organisation to deal with crisis and frame appropriate interventions - particularly in terms of governance, leadership and the progress still required on provision of operational management information - is still in a state that gives cause for concern."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Last year's crisis in the Student Loans Company caused real upset for students and their families, many of whom lost confidence in the system. We must avoid a repetition of the problems.
"I believe a new chair and chief executive will provide the fresh leadership needed to deliver the remaining changes necessary for an improved service to customers this summer."
Mr Willetts added: "Last year the service fell short of what students and their parents had every right to expect. While improvements have been put in place since last year, we are not out of the woods yet.
"Having read the latest report on the SLC by PricewaterhouseCoopers, it is clear that urgent changes to the leadership are needed to ensure students get the service they deserve."
Sir Deian has been appointed interim chair.
The chairman of the SLC is appointed by ministers, while the role of chief executive is a matter for the SLC's board.
VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
Bank Holiday Monday opening times: Are Tesco, Asda and other supermarkets open today?
Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
The nine most warmongering countries in the world revealed
Isis releases graphic video showing four Shia 'spies' being burned alive in Anbar, Iraq
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
- 1 VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
- 2 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 3 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 4 Chaos breaks out in courtroom as father attacks killer of three-year-old daughter
- 5 I like Corbyn, but let's face it: we don't need another white man at the head of a political party
Negotiable: AER Teachers: Outstanding East London primary school seeking an Ea...
Negotiable: AER Teachers: Southwark primary School looking for teaching assist...
£24,451 - £27,061 per annum: Royal College of Music: The Royal College of Musi...
£35 - £45k DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Optimisation Analyst is...