Education news

Unjustifiably high salaries for university bosses unacceptable, regulator warns

There are continuing concerns over university leaders' pay, with many calling for restraint

"OUT of kilter" salaries for university bosses that cannot be justified are unacceptable, a watchdog has warned.

Full details of vice-chancellors' pay - including their bonuses and benefits - will be published in an annual report, the Office for Students (OfS) said.

The regulator has published for the first time details of the salary information it will require from universities.

The move comes amid continuing concerns over university leaders' pay, with many, including ministers, calling for restraint.

OfS chief executive Nicola Dandridge said: "Students and taxpayers need to be confident that our university leaders are paid appropriately and deliver value for money.

"High levels of pay that are out of kilter with pay levels elsewhere and which cannot be justified are unacceptable.

"Higher education providers will have to give us full details of the total pay package of their vice chancellor. In addition, they will have to provide detailed justification of this package.

"As part of this, we will be looking at the ratio between the head of institution's pay and the pay of the other staff at the institution. This will provide additional visibility and transparency - and enable us all to ask tough questions as necessary.

"These disclosures will become part of our regulatory requirements, and if a provider fails to comply with these requirements or fails to provide justification this may amount to a breach of our regulatory conditions, and we will not hesitate to intervene."

The University and College Union welcomed the OfS focus on pay, but said there needs to be "proper student and staff representation" on pay committees to ensure bosses are held to account.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "Asking institutions to justify high pay for senior staff is all very well, but they need to do much better than complaining about how they're being paid less than bankers or footballers."

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