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Firm paid CEF chief Pounds 650 a month

The controversial chief executive of the Association of Colleges has always denied any wrong-doing in his dealings with ELS, the lecturers' staff agency. TES staff have unearthed documentary evidence which undermines his claims to impartiality

Roger Ward was paid Pounds 650 a month in a consultancy agreement with a leading financial services company, when he was heading the Colleges' Employers' Forum in 1995.

Burke Ford Reed, based in Liverpool, finalised details of the consultancy agreement in June 1995. A standing order for the amount was set up, made payable to Roger Ward Associates, and paid directly to his Midland Bank account in Hampstead High Street, London, where he then lived.

Dominic Burke, managing director of Burke Ford Reed, wrote to Mr Ward confirming the details of the agreement in a letter headed 'consultancy agreement'.

In September 1995 Mr Ward had a meeting at the CEF office in Rathbone Place with two representatives from Burke Ford Healthcare Ltd, one of the group's companies, including Nigel Manley. A proposal for a corporate health plan for colleges was discussed.

As a result of the meeting a disk containing the CEF mailing list was passed over.

Two days after that meeting, Mr Manley wrote to Mr Ward in a letter marked "Strictly Private Confidential". "As you are aware, we have experienced some difficulties, I suppose not entirely unexpected, with regard to the transfer of your mailing list to our own system.

"However, for the purpose of this exercise these difficulties have been overcome and our target date for the distribution of literature of 22 September is being achieved. Consequently all principals, clerks and personnel managers will receive a personally addressed letter."

"As I have already mentioned to you," he wrote, "I propose to introduce a simple reporting process whereby at least once a month we can advise you as to the progress of this scheme identifying colleges that have joined etc."

He thanked Mr Ward for his helpful observations on advertising promotions and looked forward to receiving from him a list of CEF events due to be held before the end of the year so that he could assess how to deal with them. He intended to prepare a review of the scheme and once this was completed he would forward it to Mr Ward for his comment and "perhaps input".

Mr Ward said no consultancy agreement had ever existed between himself and Burke Ford Reed.

The monthly payment was money owed to him because his financial adviser had taken too much commission when managing his personal affairs. "There is nothing to hide at all," he said.

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