Contest to find college finance supremo

9th September 2005 at 01:00
It's spreadsheets at dawn as the big cheeses in finance tough it out in the annual showdown to find the meanest number-cruncher in FE.

College managers and lecturers will be reassured to know that the competition won't involve rewarding the bean-counter who does the best job of whittling down the principal's lunch expenses or trimming a few more pounds from the art budget.

The presence of the Association of Colleges on the judging panel should make sure of that.

Instead, college finance directors nominated for the competition will be judged on a number of criteria that will assess how well they have contributed to the overall success of FE.

Julian Gravatt, one of the judges and director of funding and development at the AoC, said: "College finance directors have one of the toughest finance jobs in the public sector. This award is one small way of recognising their vital contribution and work."

Richard Healey the Learning and Skills Council's director of finance, who is chairing the panel of judges, said: "Strong financial management skills are vital to the success of any college and to the FE sector as a whole.

"Last year's award illustrated the specific strategic influence which finance directors can have in securing the continuing success of their colleges.

"Finance directors play a vital role in the way colleges operate.

Delivering for employers and communities, the finance director's role is key. This is the second year that we've run the award and I'm really looking forward to the challenge of reviewing the nominations."

They will be judged on areas including the quality of financial statements, financial improvement and the success of building programmes.

The competition was launched last year. The winner was Karen Cook, vice-principal of finance and resources at Somerset college of arts and technology.

The runners-up were Martin Smith of Runshaw college, in Lancashire, and Esme Winch of Newcastle college.

The panel of judges also includes David Pullein, finance director of Leeds college of building, and Lynne Sedgmore, chief executive of the Centre for Excellence in Leadership.

Nomination forms can be downloaded from the websites of the Learning and Skills Council or the Association of Colleges (www. lsc.gov.uk and www.aoc.co.uk). Entries must be submitted by September 30 2005

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