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Further Education

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the community background is of the new chairmen of the new further education colleges; and if he will make a statement. (96513)

The chairs designate of the six new Further Education Colleges were formally appointed in September 2006. Two have a Protestant community background, and four have a Roman Catholic community background The chairs designate will be appointed as chairs of the six new colleges on the date on which the mergers take place and will serve for a four year period. The selection process was monitored by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland to ensure that it was run in an open, unbiased and transparent manner.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many applicants there were for the recent appointments to the proposed new further education colleges in Northern Ireland, broken down by community background; and how many of these were interviewed, broken down in the same way. (96514)

32 people applied to become chairs of the six new further education colleges and 23 were interviewed. The community background of the applicants at each stage of the process is shown in the following table.

ProtestantRoman CatholicNeitherTotal

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Number

All applicants

16

50

13

41

3

9

32

Invited for interview

12

52

10

44

1

4

23

The selection process was monitored by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) for Northern Ireland under their good practice kite mark scheme. The selection panel, which was balanced in terms of gender and community background, consisted of an OCPA-nominated independent assessor and two departmental officials. In line with recommended practice, the selection panel did not, at any stage, see the monitoring information relating to the community background of any applicant, which is requested purely for statistical purposes.