What ministers are seeking;FE Focus

30th April 1999 at 01:00
TOUGH new audits and greater intervention in the affairs of failing colleges were demanded this week by education ministers disturbed by the most recent scandals in the sector.

Measures being sought include:

* all colleges must disclose spending on foreign travel and hospitality annually;

* audit committees must include at least one person with relevant financial expertise;

* all student numbers and specialist audits where there are serious concerns will be carried out by the Further Education Funding Council;

* auditors will report to the FEFC on expenses they consider excessive;

* The FEFC will be able to nominate up to two governors where a college causes concern;

* The FEFC will be able to send observers or assessors to college governors' meetings;

* all governors must undergo training within six months of appointment;

* there will be a new professional qualification for principals;

* principals will no longer be suspended on full pay in disciplinary cases.

Lifelong learning minister Baroness Blackstone said: "David Blunkett and I are determined that the very serious and fundamental weaknesses shown by some colleges must never be repeated."

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