PROBE INTO TRAINING SCANDAL
An investigation is underway into alleged fraud involving funding for meat industry training at Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology resulting in the suspension of a member of staff.
The Learning Skills Council, Qualification and Curriculum Authority and Departments for Education and Skills have been investigating allegations of fraud, implicating many major processors, that could total over £500,000
It is alleged that a senior member of staff in the meat technology department at the college had been making false applications for funding in relation to the College and abattoirs in the UK. The scam involved deals with abattoir owners/managers in order to obtain funding for training, which was not carried out.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that one major UK abattoir is alleged to have received £300,000 plus to train 92 people, when only 11 were actually trained.
Alan Mosley, deputy chief executive at Shrewsbury College, said " As a result of allegations in the meat technology technical department, a member of staff has been suspended since May while high complex investigations, involving a number of agencies, have been underway. The matter is now in the hands of the LSC".
Investigation started last May following an audit by the Meat Training Council (MTC). "We carried out an audit of Shrewsbury College's meat technology department. Issues were identified which we were required to report to the QCA2 said David Grailey, chief executive of the MTC.
A spokesperson for the QCA said, "We are very concerned at the allegations under investigation at Shrewsbury College. We have carried out an investigation in conjunction with ACCAC (Welsh department of education) and the MTC, and are working closely with the LSC and the DFES to support their investigations. As a result of our ongoing monitoring of awarding bodies, we are satisfied this problem has been contained within this one centre and that the awarding body, the Meat Training Council, meets our criteria for quality assurance of qualifications within the meat industry".
The investigation into the College is one of 33 investigations into alleged fraud and irregularities that the LSC is currently carrying out into colleges and training bodies in all industries.
Geoff Snell, head of the Special Investigations Unit at LSC said; " these alleged frauds and irregularities do involve significant amounts of money - several million pounds is at risk in the cases we are investigating at the moment, although it is impossible to give any firm figures at this stage".
Meat Trades Journal - Friday 5th April, 2002