College staff are not being adequately consulted in the area review process, two unions have warned.
A paper submitted to the area review advisory group by the ATL, seen by TES, argues that unions and staff should have been engaged through meetings and college visits.
“ATL’s experience of the area review process shows that communication with staff, by these means, has failed,” it says.
Although meetings with the unions were due to take place after each steering group meeting, communication between staff and the FE commissioner was hampered by relevant information not being provided to the unions, and appointments being moved at short notice or cancelled altogether, the ATL adds.
Concerns were also expressed by the University and College Union (UCU). A spokesman said that communication with staff and unions had been poor since the start of the area reviews.
“UCU wrote to the previous minister, Nick Boles, setting out concerns that an area review process which is not transparent and does not involve all college staff will ultimately fail to utilise a wealth of knowledge, and risk producing recommended outcomes not fit for purpose,” he told TES.
Earlier this year, the Education and Training Foundation published a guide on staff engagement in the area review process. In March, FE commissioner Sir David Collins acknowledged that communication with staff and students “has been variable and could clearly be improved”.
Skills minister Robert Halfon said: “We have always been clear how important it is that staff are engaged throughout the review process, and each individual college is responsible for ensuring this is the case.”