Writing in today's Guardian, Nick Tester argues that by appointing so many former Training and Enterprise Council (TEC) senior staff to the new Learning and Skills Council, the government are simply going to re-create the role of what he terms the 'officially discredited' and 'past their sell-by date' TECs.
In the past few months, the government have announced the appointments to all but a couple of the 'top jobs' within the council. Tester says that most of these jobs were secured without using a proper and rigorous selection process, quoting several un-named newly-appointed executive directors who say that interviews were carried out haphazardly, without focus and often as a foregone conclusion.
Tester questions why executives at the Further Education Funding Council do not seem to have done better out of the new appointments process. Out of 45 Executive Directors, 17 have a TEC background, whereas only one or two are currently working for the FETC. The FETC council's members are drawn mostly from those in executive posts at colleges, with the rest being drawn from a mix of private and public organisations.
However, both the Chief Executive and Chair for the new council come from elsewhere - CEO John Harwood was previously at Oxfordshire County Council, while Chair Bryan Sanderson comes from BP Amoco.
What Tester doesn't mention is that staff at the FETC will be carrying on most of their roles, but will become part of the LSC under TUPE regulations. They will also relinquish the role of inspecting provision of education for 16 to 19-year-olds to OFSTED and the Adult Learning Inspectorate. It could be argued that although the FETC is going to be affected greatly by these changes, their work is likely to be less far less affected than that of those working for TECs, for whom the 'training' and 'enterprise' parts of the organisation will soon be divided.
The Association of Colleges has given a cautious response to the LSC so far, telling the Guardian that they have yet to see a strategic plan.