Further education bosses have welcomed the appointment of Lord Lingfield (pictured) as chair of the group that will give out chartered status, a new quality indicator for the sector.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock asked the Tory peer to take on the role as he had the “right background and expertise”, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) told FE Week.
Lord Lingfield will now put together a panel before the summer recess, in time for a formal launch in November.
Providers will put themselves forward for chartered status, which will be awarded for the first time in the early part of next year. If providers met certain criteria, such as showing strong leadership and management, and having excellent feedback from learners as well a programme of community activity endorsed by local enterprise partnerships, they could use the status in their titles.
A BIS spokesperson said: “Ministers want to put chartered status on a long term, independent footing as soon as possible and are appointing the chair and panel members directly.
“This is consistent with views expressed in response to a consultation on the matter.”
He added that the positions of chair and the rest of the panel would be unpaid.
Lord Lingfield sits on the EU sub committee for home affairs, health and education. He is also pro-chancellor of Brunel University, deputy lieutenant of Greater London and chairs a range of organisations, including the Centre for Education Management (now CEFM).
He previously served as director-general of St John Ambulance and chaired the Grant-Maintained Schools Centre throughout the 1990s.
Last year he wrote an independent review on professionalism in FE at the request of former Skills Minister John Hayes. His report explored how to “raise the status of further education professionals” and ultimately resulted in the creation of the FE Guild, currently being developed to set professional standards across the sector.
Lynne Sedgmore of the 157 Group, described the new chair as a “significant champion” of the “quality and excellence of colleges”.
She said: “We welcome the appointment. Lord Lingfield is someone who has spent time understanding and supporting the work of FE colleges and our sector.”
“He has already made a compelling case for greater professional autonomy for FE,” she added.
The Association of Colleges’ deputy chief executive, Gill Clipson, said the group “looked forward” to working with Lord Lingfield in developing chartered status for colleges.
“This work will build on his recommendations in last year’s report on professionalism within FE and, in this context, we will be interested to see how the charter will relate to his other recommendations concerning the establishment of a guild and the role of inspection within FE,” she said.