Government to regulate excessive university vice-Chancellors pay

Vice-chancellor pay will come under new government regulations to prevent excessive salaries for university bosses. It has been suggested that pay should be linked to size and performance of university.

The announcement came after a series of protests over vice-chancellors’ pay in recent weeks – including at the University of Bath, the University of Southampton and Bath Spa.

Jo Johnson, Universities Minister, stated that “Value for money is at the heart of why we set up the Office for Students (OFS),” but was “concerned that the proportion of students in England who feel they are not getting value for money is greater than those who feel they are getting good value for money”

Bath Spa, one of the smallest universities in the country, has come to nationwide attention due to the pay practices. Professor Christina Slade received £808,000 in her final year as vice-Chancellor of the university. 

A spokeswoman for the university said the figure represented “value for money”.

Hundreds of students protested outside a Bath City council meeting over the university’s management and senior pay.

Sally Hunt, University and College Union (UCU) General Secretary said: “We are seeing what happens when decisions are taken in secret without proper checks and balances.

“This simply cannot be allowed to continue; we need an urgent overhaul of how senior pay and perks are determined, and how our universities are governed.

“We need students and staff to have a role on the committees taking these decisions and we need to see the full minutes so we can be clear about how pay awards are decided.”

A spokeswoman for Bath Spa said the figure represented “value for money”.

Earlier this week, appearing before the education select committee, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the OFS said that it intends to crack down university bosses who receive disproportionate large pay packets while looking after small universities.

She told MPs that the pay packets of university heads should also be linked to their institution’s performance.

Asked by the Robert Halfon MP, the committee chair, whether salaries of senior executives should be linked to performance Dandridge said “Yes, and also linked to the size of the organisation you are running”.

She said that the OFS, which come into action on January 2018, will take the issues of excessive vice-Chancellor salaries “very seriously”.

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