Few of the colleges studied for the report by the Further Education Development Agency had undertaken detailed planning and target-setting at departmental level. Many lacked the good practices essential for effective human resource planning.
The over-riding concern had been with meeting Government demands for so-called efficiency spending cuts. As a result, colleges lost 40 to 50 jobs in one go without proper planning, says the report - Hard-nosed decisions: planning human resources in FE.
Drawing on the strengths of many colleges studied, the report offers a 14-point guide to good practice in leadership, staff-planning, target-setting and effective deployment of specialists and resources.
Chris Hughes, chief executive of FEDA, said: "Colleges have been dramatically affected by changes at policy level. First they faced incorporation and then year-on-year efficincy gains. It was inevitable that difficult decisions about human resources would have to be taken by college managers.
"The challenge for colleges now is to take a strategic view of human resources and begin to plan for the future, as much as possible," he said.
The report is available from FEDA, price Pounds 7.50