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Businesses marginalised

NEW RULES were drawn up by ministers this week to strip business leaders of their controlling interest on college governing boards.

Increased powers will instead be given to community groups, including parents, who have had little or no right to representation on the boards. The decision follows extensive consultations by the Department for Education and Employment.

The DFEE said there was enthusiastic response from the FE sector to its proposal to reduce the number of business members to one third, rather than the present position of at least half. Its full recommendations are published in the report Accountability in FE.

David Melville, chief executive of the Further Education Funding Council, said: "The recommendations in the DFEE report are very much in line with what we were calling for." However, the Association of Colleges wanted a small cut in business interests.

The report says: "Business members have brought valuable expertise to governing bodies, but the requirement that they make up at least half of the corporation members restricts the opportunity for wider interests to be represented."

In a similar vein ministers have also said that there will no longer be a requirement that a governor is nominated from the training and enterprise councils. But TECs should continue to play a role in the governance of colleges.

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