Xenophobia is alive and well in FE if Dick Evans and his knocking of consultants is anything to go by ("Invasion of the management gurus", TES, November 17).
Dick doesn't appreciate that clients get the consultants they deserve - badly briefed consultants cannot deliver. You must be crystal clear about what you want to achieve and the part you want the consultant to play.
Good consultants ensure their brief is clear. They will suggest action which clients can sustain on their own. They will help with, or advise on, implementation if that is part of the brief. Good consultants feel considerable responsibility to the client, upon whose satisfaction their reputation depends.
Staff may have knowledge that equals or even betters that of the consultant, but several questions must be asked before using them rather than an outsider. Can they be spared from normal duties? What is the true cost of using them? Do they have wide-ranging experience of the application of those skills? And, most important, do they have actual and perceived impartiality?
Of course, not all consultants are good - some are greedy, some use jargon. But can't the same be said of some people in education?
Michael Wasley Associates 60 West Common Gardens Scunthorpe South Humberside