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November, 2017:

Breakwell and Sheppard told to leave now

Hundreds of staff crowded into 5West lecture theatre today to express their anger and concern about the findings of Monday’s HEFCE report which was highly critical of many aspects of the way the university is run.  Many more staff were diverted to another lecture theatre next door after security raised safety concerns.  The meeting backed the unions’ call for the VC and Chair of Council and the Remuneration Committee to go ‘with immediate effect’, and agreed to join students protesting at next Thursday’s meeting of University Council if both are still in position by that time.

HEFCE report slams university for poor governance practice – but you are not allowed to comment.

Yesterday HEFCE (the HE Funding Council for England) published a report that is highly critical of many aspects of the way the university is run.

The Vice-Chancellor and senior managers did not act “in good faith” when their pay was discussed at Court in February (Findings 25 and 26).

The university has been in breach of its own statutes for fifty years by not having standing orders for Court (Conclusion 10).

HEFCE is disappointed that university management “did not respond more proactively to the representations made about the Remuneration Committee” over recent years (Conclusion 12).

Consideration should be given to including staff and/or student representatives on the Remuneration Committee (Recommendation 11).

The governing body has ignored official guidance on the practice of remuneration committees, even though it was published more than two years ago (Finding 30).

There is not “sufficient evidence that Council has considered these matters [remuneration] as thoroughly as it should” (Finding 32).

The university’s poor governance practice has damaged the reputation of the university (Conclusion 9 and multiple recommendations)

Just before the HEFCE report was published, a new 3.9% pay rise for the Vice Chancellor was disclosed. The pay rise was only revealed following a Freedom of Information request. The trade unions’ view of this is that the university’s reputation for teaching and research excellence is built on the hard work of all its staff – including the large numbers on zero hours and other insecure contracts. The view of those who run the university is that the Vice Chancellor and other senior managers are responsible for the university’s success, and deserve big pay rises while everybody else gets a pay cut.

The Chair of the University Council (governing body of the University)and University Remuneration Committee Thomas Sheppard has issued a response to the report, but he did not include a copy of or a link to the HEFCE report in his message.  You can see some of the headlines from it above.

Despite the local and national interest in this matter, nobody is able to respond to this message because the comments function has been disabled.

Mr Sheppard occupies an important role, but he is not the University.

If you don’t want your comments to be disabled by Mr. Sheppard, come to tomorrow’s emergency all staff meeting from 12.15 – 1.00 in 5W2.4