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AOC ignored us, claims staff agency

A recruitment agency keen to bid for the endorsement of the Association of Colleges says it never even got a reply when it wrote providing information about its services.

The company, Initial Education Personnel, formerly known as HMS Personnel Services, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the multinational giant Rentokil.

In November last year they wrote to the Association of Colleges introducing their education division and making them". . . aware of some recent developments in the further education segment of the company which may be of interest to you".

The letter said the company had over 35 years' experience in the recruitment industry with branches throughout the UK. "With immediate access to a pool of fully vetted, referenced and qualified teachers, and an additional database of available lecturing staff, (the company are) now supplying academic personnel to further education colleges in London and the South."

They said they were dedicated to developing long-term partnerships with colleges and were interested in hearing the views of the AOC.

"But we did not even get a reply," said Glyn Rees, divisional director of IEP. "We were very annoyed as we are a far larger business than Education Lecturing Services, who the AOC promote. We are a Pounds 60 million- turnover business. "

Earlier this month The TES showed how Roger Ward, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, had assiduously promoted the ELS and had treated another competitor agency, Nord Anglia in a cavalier fashion. Mr Ward has always said there is no commercial or financial link between the AOC, or its predecessor the Colleges Employers Forum, and the ELS.

Mr Rees said: "They ignored us so we could not put ourselves forward. They were trying to create a monopoly."

Mr Ward said this week: "I would welcome any meeting with Glyn Rees and I look forward to meeting him."

Last week the Association instituted an enquiry into Mr Ward, following an investigation by The TES. The inquiry will be carried out by solicitors McKeag and Co, based in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne. D Clive McKeag, of that company told The TES this week: "I have been instructed to carry out a totally independent inquiry with regard to the allegations that have been made relating to Mr Ward and that is exactly what I will do.

"I am able to say that the sole term of reference of the inquiry is to ascertain whether or not there has been any impropriety by Mr Roger Ward in relation to ELS andor Burke Ford Reed as suggested in your paper. There are absolutely no restrictions or fetters of any kind imposed upon me in the course of my inquiry..."

He added that he had requested all members of the AOC board not to discuss the matter with any outside agency but to direct all enquiries through himself.

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