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New principal for Bishop Burton College after former chief quit amid 'mismanagement' claims

New Bishop Burton college chief Bill Meredith
New Bishop Burton college chief Bill Meredith
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A new chief executive has been appointed at a leading agricultural college - after his predecessor resigned amid allegations of "mismanagement."

Bill Meredith has been at Bishop Burton College for 30 years and has been acting chief executive and principal since Jeanette Dawson quit last October.

Former chief executive Jeanette Dawson - claimed 21,000 expenses in 21 months

Former chief executive Jeanette Dawson - claimed 21,000 expenses in 21 months

A freedom of information request recently revealed Mrs Dawson, who was earning between £140,000 and £150,000, had spent more than £21,000 in expenses in just 21 months.

That included £1,484 on pictures/framing, £753 on furniture/homeware and £5,755 on hotels.

In just one month, November 2016, she racked up over £2,500 in expenses - including £1,145 in personal items which were "purchased then reimbursed."

Both Mr Meredith, the college's former deputy principal, and the chair of governors Judy Richmond have been approached for interviews, but neither were willing to answer questions relating to the former principal.

The college, which has around 3,500 students, hired an external company to carry out an investigation but has not released the report.

In a statement the college said Mr Meredith was appointed after a "robust selection process which saw a number of strong candidates from colleges across the country apply for the job."

He said his ambition was for the college to improve from its "good" Oftsed rating to "outstanding" and urged students to embrace the opportunities created by being at the college.

He said they were embarked on a "challenging, difficult journey," adding: "We have all the jigsaw pieces on the board, they just need fitting together.

"I think we are capable of being an outstanding institution in all respects.”

The statement also included a comment from Ms Richmond, who oversaw Mr Meredith's appointment.

She said: "The selection panel is confident that Bill is the right person to steer the college into the future."

Over the expense claims the college has previously said they became aware of “concerns” about the way its hospitality and expenses policies were being operated last October.

Inquiries “highlighted a lack of transparency around the terms upon which entertaining expenses were incurred in the past.

“As a result, the audit trail of who was entertained and how the college benefited lacked sufficient clarity.”

College regulations were being updated to provide a “stronger framework for the monitoring and approval procedures for use of college credit cards, the claiming of expenses and introduced (sic) a formal process for authorising entertaining and hospitality events.”