Cornwall Auditors Reopen School Investigation After Council Complaint

The Five Islands School

The investigation into the suspension of the Five Islands School head teacher has taken yet another twist today.

Last week, the Cornwall Council auditors who were brought into by our Council to investigate alleged financial irregularity in the school, stated their report was finished and they wouldn’t need to interview Bryce Wilby.

But last night, Cornwall’s auditors did a dramatic U-turn.

In a joint statement, issued by the Cornwall and Scilly Councils, they say the auditors are working on the report again and Bryce will, after all, have a chance to answer the allegations made against him.

From Radio Scilly

Council Chair Mike Hicks on the latest development…

ScillyToday understands that Scilly’s Director of Education, Penny Penn-Howard, told Councillors she was very unhappy with the Cornwall auditors’ behaviour, telling the media their job was done, when they had not consulted her, the client, before going public.

Last night, Council Chairman Mike Hicks said the Cornwall auditors were contracted to do the work and he says they haven’t done that to the Council’s satisfaction.

Mike says they complained to them and they had apologised verbally.

He accepts there are questions about the auditors’ actions and he’ll be, “keeping an eye on them” but he will accept their report as factual, adding that he doesn’t think they have “fabricated” the findings in any way.

If Cornwall hasn’t played the game, says Mike, the Council will be looking at procedures to ensure it never gets into this situation again.

Bryce Wilby told us, “I am delighted that the Audit investigation has been re-opened and confirm that I will be arranging a meeting date with the Audit team in the time frame they suggest, although once again I have only received this news via the press rather than my employer.”

But he says he’s, “greatly puzzled by the assertion that I was previously unavailable for interview as I have emails and phone logs that prove otherwise.”

Bryce claims he’s spent the past three weeks trying to contact members of the audit team to arrange a meeting. He said eventually the auditors sent him an email saying that wouldn’t happen as they’d completed the report.

Referring to the confusion over his employment status, Bryce added, “As a current employee I am sure the Council have realised that I need to have a fair and equal opportunity to be heard.”

This new development adds a further delay to the publication of the report, which is now unlikely to appear before the October half term. The auditors report was meant to be available on Thursday for the Full Council meeting.

It once again raises questions about the way the Five Islands School head teacher was suspended and the subsequent investigation into the financial management of the school and comes a week after the Department for Education said they were launching an investigation into the affair.


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