Les Ebdon named as ‘preferred candidate’ for Offa job

The government has named its preferred candidate to lead the university access watchdog the Office for Fair Access.

January 27, 2012

Les Ebdon, who is stepping down as vice-chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire this summer, will appear before a House of Commons select committee on 2 February to be quizzed on his application for the vacancy.

If he is succesful, Professor Ebdon, who is chair of the Million+ group of post-1992 institutions, will replace Sir Martin Harris as Offa director.

The developments follow a delay in the hunt for a new director after the government extended the search in an apparent bid to find a suitable candidate from outside the sector.

Times Higher Education reported in December that, following interviews for the job, ministers were left with just one name – understood to be David Allen, registrar and deputy chief executive of the University of Exeter – and wanted a more varied pool.

Mr Allen is understood to have withdrawn his candidature before Christmas.

Professor Ebdon has been an outspoken critic of government policy during his time as Million+ chairman, frequently raising concerns about the impact of the tuition fee hike on students from poorer backgrounds.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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