As Chair of the Board of Trustees of ACER, it is a pleasure to introduce this Annual Report for 2016-17

The Further Education sector, like all others, is continuing to experience challenging
and unsettled times. In recent times we have experienced almost unparalleled political
upheaval and witnessed the profound social pressure created as a result.These
challenges also herald opportunity.
There is a change in the air, as the Government begins to properly acknowledge the importance of
Further Education, and this is our chance to continue putting forward our story both nationally and locally.
It is therefore more important than ever that our colleges continue to stand as places of stability and
excellence and, as the political, social and economic landscape changes, keep working together to provide
for our students and our communities.
For years ACER has been central to the building and nurturing of our vital collaborative relationships. It
provides an excellent professional network for all its members, from governors to principals and support
staff. It enables the sharing of information and best practice, the analysis of the sector in which we work,
and provides all college staff with a space to go to find support and guidance. ACER also speaks for us
on a regional and national level, promoting the great work we are doing and ensuring our voice is heard.
Everything ACER does is for the benefit of us, its members, and it has helped to shape the region into the
strong, cooperative place it is today.
The difficult times we have been experiencing and continue to experience as colleges have also had an
impact on ACER. To ensure that ACER can continue to deliver to its members, the organisation has had
to navigate these challenges and changes to the landscape. It has taken carefully considered steps to
further cut costs and is proactively planning for the future by exploring new lines of revenue and,
following the Board’s instruction, identifying a range of potential futures. It is continuing to seek out
positive opportunities and potential strategic partnerships to ensure it can deliver an even more
beneficial and relevant service to its members.
The following report provides an insight into the many ways that ACER is supporting, promoting and
unifying the work of colleges in the East. It also outlines ACER’s current financial and business performance
and reflects the positive path ACER is forging towards better serving its members.
ACER is a learning organisation and is constantly looking for ways to grow and evolve. It values its
members above all else, so suggestions and feedback are welcome and encouraged to enable ACER
to continue supporting us in improving the service we provide for our communities.
Nikos SavvasChair of the Board of Trustees