Last week, The TES revealed that Mr Ward was paid Pounds 650 a month in a "consultancy agreement" by consultants Burke Ford Reed when he was head of the association's predecessor, the Colleges Employers Forum. Reports also suggested far closer links with Education Lecturing Services than he had been willing to admit.
Howard Phelps, chair of the AOC board, praised Mr Ward's record at the association's annual conference in Harrogate. But he promised a full inquiry by independent solicitors. "When the good name of the AOC is put at issue, there will be no fudging," he said.
Mr Ward said the inquiry would enjoy his full co-operation and spoke of a "relentless press campaign" timed to embarrass him at the start of the conference.
Further revelations, Page 30