Inspiration Trust chairman follows Michael Gove to Ministry of Justice

Businessman Theodore Agnew at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy.Picture: James Bass

Businessman Theodore Agnew at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

The chairman of the academy chain behind a number of Norfolk and Suffolk schools has followed former education secretary Michael Gove into his new department.

Sir Theodore Agnew, who is behind the Inspiration Trust, has been made a non-executive board member of the Ministry of Justice.

The Norfolk businessman, who is also a Conservative Party donor, will be paid £15,000 for the role, but he will not be working a set amount of hours.

Sir Theodore chaired the Academies Board for the Department for Education while Mr Gove was education secretary.

He was forced to bat off accusations last year that his top job in the Department for Education represented a conflict of interest.

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He told MPs that he volunteered to leave meetings where sponsor applications were being discussed, adding that organisations behind academies and free schools were not-for-profit.

The Conservative party donor and insurance magnate, made the comments in a session where he was called in front of the Commons Education Select Committee last July.

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Sir Theodore founded Somerton Capital LLP in 2007 and co-founded the WNS Group (a US listed company) in 1990.

Cabinet office guidelines state that a job advertisement for a non-executive board member role does not have to be advertised.

Inspiration Trust chief executive Dame Rachel de Souza: 'Sir Theodore founded the Inspiration Trust charity because he wanted to do something practical to improve education for children in his home county and give young people here the very best start in life.

'His continued commitment to the Trust - through his skills and experience, his time and advice, and some very significant personal financial donations - is helping us do just that.

'We can see why the Ministry for Justice would want such a committed public servant advising them, and congratulate Sir Theodore on his new role.'

An MoJ Spokesperson said: 'Following the election, the non-executive board members at the MoJ have stood down.

'In line with Cabinet Office protocols, the Department has advertised for a new lead non-executive board member. Shortlisted candidates will be subject to a panel-based interview and the process is being overseen by the Government's lead non executive, Sir Ian Cheshire.

'In addition, Sir Theodore Agnew was appointed as a new non-executive board member at the start of June. He brings with him five years' experience as a non-executive at the DfE, where he drove efficiencies and improved departmental performance.'

The appointment of Sir Theodore was announced through the Ministry of Justice annual report and accounts.

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