Profligate colleges;Letter

21st May 1999 at 01:00
I READ with great interest Neil Munro's article, "Opening the boss's wage slip" (TESS, April 30). Given the dire state of industrial relations in Scottish FE, it is evident that many principals are receiving salaries that reflect a worth far above their ability.

However, true profligacy in Scottish FE can only be measured when colleges give an accurate account of expenditure against revenue for other activities.

Such as trips abroad by members of boards of management and senior managers, and over-concentration on peripheral issues, such as "customer care", "client services" and "European funding", to name but a few.

These areas appear to be the only issues some boards and senior managers are able to focus on, and in reality most of this effort is unproductive, if not counter-productive, in achieving long-tern improvements in the FE sector as a holistic entity.

Let us hope that Labour deliver on their promise to "identify and promote best management practice throughout the FE sector to ensure that the additional pound;214 million being made available to the FE sector over the next three years is used to maximum effect" (Helen Liddell, March 25).

If they fail to deliver, the likelihood is that most of this money will be frittered away on nice little trips abroad for the favoured elite; new mission and vision statements for colleges that do not need them; glossy brochures and posters that no one reads or looks at; incomprehensible television advertising; and resources directed at accessing European funding that invariably leads to deficits in the revenueexpenditure statement.

Les Sinclair Western Road, Kilmarnock

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