Scots welcome conduct code

November 7, 1997

ALMOST two thirds of Scottish further education college boards of management have adopted a code of conduct as recommended by the Nolan committee, writes Olga Wojtas.

This was revealed in an independent survey of how effectively boards are working, carried out for the Scottish Office by the MVA Consultancy.

It found that 63 per cent of colleges had adopted a formal code of conduct. Forty per cent of those without one thought it necessary and planned to produce one.

Scottish education minister Brian Wilson has not told colleges to adopt a code, but said he had written to each board asking it to take ''a hard look'' as to how it measured up against the Nolan report.

''I expect each board then to take positive steps to address any gaps or shortcomings,'' he said. A report on the findings said Nolan's recommendations on openness were ''only put into practice to a limited extent''. Board minutes were placed in public libraries, and one college invited the press to its board meetings, but there was no evidence of active dissemination of proceedings and information.

Many colleges had adopted Nolan's recommendations on recruiting board members, but nearly half did not have a publicly available written appointment process, or formal description of the skills required.

Some 40 per cent of board members had been recruited through an existing member, and another 12 per cent through other personal contact.

Only 2 per cent were recruited by advertisement, and 1 per cent through external consultancies, with the remainder predominantly nominees.

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