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Recruit extra staff and pay governors to manage mergers, government tells colleges

Guidance to be issued to FE institutions regarding potential mergers as a result of the area reviews process

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Colleges undergoing mergers should consider recruiting a dedicated project team and a paid senior adviser, as well as paying their chair for the extra work, according to updated area review guidance due to be published by the government tomorrow.

A draft of the document seen by TES states that in many cases it will be appropriate for colleges to commission consultancy support as they come together, or to recruit a dedicated project team with significant restructuring or turnaround expertise on an interim basis. “It may also be sensible to appoint a part-time, paid senior adviser to the board, with appropriate transformation experience who can perform a ‘non-executive director’ role for a limited time,” it goes on to say.

'Different skills are needed'

Effective implementation of merger requires a different skills set to that required to run an established institution, the draft guidance explains. Furthermore, colleges should consider remunerating their chair or lead governor for the additional work carried out during the area review process and the implementation phase.

Where two institutions in roughly similar situations are merging, an independent chair not involved in either predecessor board would normally be beneficial, says the guidance. “The designate or transitional board and chair for the new institution should be put in place as early as possible,” it adds, stressing that the role of the chair will be crucial, and it is “essential” for the chair to have access to “dedicated turnaround resource”, reporting directly to them and the transitional board.

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