Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Standard: "400 university jobs must go after £50m 'blunder'"

From the London Evening Standard:

LONDON Metropolitan University is to axe up to 400 jobs after being awarded more than £50million in funding it should never have received.

Major problems with records on student dropouts resulted in the Government overpaying the university.

London Met's governors face protests from staff and students when they meet today to discuss the crisis. Lecturers have been warned they are facing "large-scale compulsory redundancies".

Problems were discovered after the Higher Education Funding Council for England audited London Met's student data returns and found major discrepancies. Funding is tied to student numbers and it is thought the university overestimated how many were successful in completing their courses.

In a letter this month, university vice-chancellor Brian Roper told staff the funding council was "minded to recover in full" the overpayment it gave London Met between 2005 and last year.

"It is likely to be a very substantial amount and will be a one-off cost," he wrote.

The final amount will not be known until next month. But sources suggested London Met had received £38million between 2005 and 2008. In addition, the annual budget has been slashed by £15million this year as a result of the problems.

Mr Roper's letter added: "I have alerted you to the possible need for large-scale compulsory redundancies. I very much regret that this is now no longer a possibility but a very real requirement."

London Met, with sites in east and north London and the City, has about 34,000 students and 2,300 full-time-equivalent staff. It has already embarked on voluntary redundancy schemes but students and lecturers are concerned it could make a rash decision to axe jobs and courses that incur high costs.

A protest by students and staff was to be held outside the governors' meeting in Holloway Road this afternoon. A spokeswoman for London Met said: "The details of any redundancies are being worked through in consultation with our unions."

No comments:

Post a Comment