Careers chief hits back

The head of the careers service in Fife has hit back at the consultant who delivered a withering report two weeks ago. In a letter in today's TES Scotland, Malcolm Barron said staff were "extremely upset and angry over the ill-informed comments and criticisms that the consultant's report has generated".

Mr Barron says the report is not borne out by the performance of the company which conformed to all the Scottish Office targets in its first year. It was the third careers company to achieve the Scottish Quality Management System award.

He contrasts the "lengthy" inspections by qualified auditors with Alex Neil's "short review" which included talking to only one headteacher.

Mr Barron also said that the apparently poor awareness of Fife Careers by employers was based on a survey that deliberately sought out companies which did not make regular use of its services. Follow-up surveys with employers had always recorded satisfaction rates of more than 90 per cent.

Fife's criticisms are backed by Dermot Dick, chairman of the Association of Careers Services in Scotland, who expressed surprise at Mr Neil's criticisms. "The company was one of the first to pass the Scottish Office quality management threshold and it has had a good track record in areas of professional development."

Letters, page 20

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