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AOC united on chairman;FE Focus

Jim Scrimshaw was unanimously elected chairman of the board of the Association of Colleges, which met for the first time this week. Nick Brown, principal of Oldham Sixth Form College was unanimously elected vice-chair.

Mr Scrimshaw, chair of Barking College, and development director of GPT Telephone Cables Ltd, now has the task of uniting all the colleges behind the new board and begin for the first time since last November - when the Roger Ward revelations began - to concentrate on policy issues.

He said: "The AOC was established to be the single voice of FE, and the power of that voice, when fully supported by the sector, is very great. With the political climate more favourable than it has been for years, the new board must provide leadership in policies and standards. I am delighted that we now have a board which is broad church. That is healthy for the AOC, and it reflects the maturity of the sector. We can now look forward with great confidence."

The first task will be to appoint a new chief executive. "We are very conscious of the need for speed but we must ensure that the recruitment is part of an integrated strategy that is endorsed by the new board. This strategic review will take place in June," he said.

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