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Spat over part-timers

Agency boss Kevin McNeany has threatened legal action against the Association of Colleges over its support for the controversial Education Lecturing Services in a fight for control of Britain's part-time lecturers, writes Ben Russell.

Mr McNeany, chairman of Nord Anglia Education, claimed the AOC was misleading its members and working against their interests.

The company is consulting lawyers over an AOC circular sent to colleges in January referring to problems with part-timers seeking work after retirement.

It said: "ELS continues to be the only third-party provider in our sector using self-employed status combined with lecturers' pools and therefore represents the safest procedure to re-engage the relatively small number of lecturers affected without compromising lecturers' pensions or the college position with the DFEE."

But Mr McNeany said: "This is emphatically not the case. Nord Anglia Employment Services has been providing employment services to colleges since September 1996. Our company provides lecturers who are self-employed. We have a national network of local offices and a national database.

"We have offered colleges advice and assistance in respect of re-securing the services of retired lecturers without infringing the requirements of early retirement regulations."

But AOC chief executive Roger Ward said: "Should he decide to sue the sector, we will hand over any papers to our lawyers."

It is the latest spat over agencies for part-time lecturers and use of ELS.

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