chapter  15
Sandwell College and BS 5750: a syncretistic pilgrimage?
Pages 8

The primary motivation for looking at the possibility of installing a Quality Management System to BS 5750, related to the need of the college to stimulate a sense of collegiality between the two pre-existing colleges of which it now comprised. What could draw the diversity of staff in a wide range of programme areas located on six campuses into a common sense of purpose and direction? Although we were not unaware of the potential marketing applications of achieving BS 5750 certification, this was not a primary motivation and was certainly never seen as an end in itself. There were, however, external influences, if not pressures, on the college to demonstrate to the outside world that its claims to quality are well founded. In 1933 a director of Shell wrote, ‘It is not enough that we should know that our motor-oils are first rate, but the public should be convinced of it’ (Kessler 1933). In December 1986, Lord Young had gone on record as saying, ‘FE must realize that it needs to respond to a changing market. If the providers of quality training do not come out of FE they will come from the private sector. As long as quality training is provided-I do not care who provides it’ (TES). Increasingly ‘effectiveness’ which had for so long stood beside ‘efficiency’, was being replaced by the word ‘quality’.1 The government White Paper ‘Education and Training for the Twenty-first Century’ went even further and spoke not merely of quality but of quality systems:

Colleges need effective systems to improve their quality…a number of systems are being explored by colleges including BS 5750, Total Quality Management (TQM) and Strategic Quality Management (SQM). Colleges will be expected to provide information to the [Funding] Councils about the quality assurance systems they have in place.