UCU report shows university bosses enjoyed an average salary of £260,000 and spent up to £60,000 on premium flights last year
University bosses enjoyed an average salary of £260,000 and spent up to £60,000 on premium flights last year, according to a new report released today by the UCU.
However 16% of institutions (24 out of 155) either refused to respond to the union’s FOI requests or used exemptions to avoid releasing the information it asked for.
The report – Transparency at the top? Senior pay and perks in UK universities – also revealed that 18 vice-chancellors enjoyed a salary hike of over 10%, despite overseeing a bitter pay dispute that saw staff take strike action to secure a 2% pay deal. Some university vice-chancellors ran up thousands of pounds in annual hotel bills and expenses claims.
UCU says its report exposes how UK universities adopt hugely varying levels of transparency around vice-chancellors’ pay and perks. Seven simply did not respond and the other 17 used various FOI exemptions to avoid releasing the information. The majority of institutions responded to some of the requests for information and used exemptions on others, or said they did not keep the information.
In 2013/14 the average vice-chancellor in a UK university spent £9,706 on flights, of which over two-thirds (68%) were in first or business class. They racked up an average hotel bill of £3,202 and claimed expenses of £3,113.
Leading the way on flight expenditure was the LSE’s Craig Calhoun who spent £59,812 on first or business class flights. Pamela Gillies at Glasgow Caledonian University was the largest spender on hotels, running up bills totalling £27,271 in 2013/14, and Gavin Henderson of London’s Royal Central School for Speech and Drama boasted the largest expense account of £33,526.
In 2013/14, the average salary for vice-chancellors was £260,290. Eighteen vice-chancellors enjoyed a pay increase of more than 10%, while the largest increase was 70.2%. On average, vice-chancellors were paid 6.4 times more than an average member of staff. The report also reveals that 20 institutions had more than 100 members of staff earning over £100,000 a year.
In an attempt to understand the rationale for setting higher salaries, UCU also requested a copy of the most recent minutes of the remuneration committee – the committee tasked with determining its vice-chancellor’s pay – and if the vice-chancellor sat on that committee.
Only half of the institutions (50%) provided a copy of the minutes. Of those minutes provided, one-third (33%) had been redacted to obscure key information. Over two-thirds of vice-chancellors (71%) are either members of the remuneration committee or can attend.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “What has been most striking is the huge variation in universities’ responses to our requests for information. Too many institutions refused to provide any information on expenses and the majority showed a strong determination to keep the details of decisions on senior pay a closely-guarded secret.
“Even where minutes of the committee tasked with setting senior pay were supplied, they were often redacted to the point where they were rendered meaningless.
“Many staff and students will be amazed at the size of vice-chancellors’ salaries, and at the largesse displayed by some university leaders when it comes to first class flights, hotels and other expenses. That this is happening in public institutions which are largely funded by the taxpayer and students makes the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding senior pay and perks a national scandal.
“UCU has raised with ministers time and again the need for a national register of pay and perks, which would also set out the rationale for any increases. We need agreed standards for open and transparent governance in our universities so trust in the system can be restored.”
* Overall, 24 of the 155 institutions contacted did not provide responses to the union’s FOI requests.
Seven institutions simply did not respond to the request at all. They were:
University of Southampton
Buckinghamshire New University
De Montfort University
Edge Hill University
University College London
University of West London
Fourteen institutions employed exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act to avoid answering all the questions relating to their vice-chancellor’s pay and expenses. They were:
Leeds Beckett University
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
University of Bath
University of Birmingham
University of Bradford
University of Huddersfield
University of Leeds
University of Lincoln
University of Northampton
University of Sunderland
University of Warwick
University of Wolverhampton
The University of Sussex replied and said it would not provide any response as the request exceeded appropriate limit and fee regulations. St George’s University replied, but did not put any response in to the questions leaving them blank and the University of Winchester said it did not hold the information.
Top five spenders on air fares
|University||Vice-chancellor||Flight expenditure 2013/14 (£)||Expenditure on Business and First Class flights 2013/14 (£)||%age of flight expenditure on Business and First Class flights|
|1||London School of Economics||Professor Craig Calhoun||59,811.14||59,566.14
|2||Bath Spa University||Professor Christina Slade||41,977.83||40,794.21
|3||Middlesex University||Professor Michael Driscoll||37,802.81||37,802.81
|4||University of Oxford||Professor Andrew Hamilton||34,210.71||Not provided||Not provided|
|5||University of Strathclyde||Professor Sir Jim McDonald||33,508.00||Not provided||Not provided|
The average spend on air fares for vice-chancellors during 2013/14 was £9,705.75
The average percentage of overall flight expenditure spend on business and first class flights during 2013/14 was 67.6%
Top five spenders on hotel accommodation
|University||Vice-chancellor||Hotel accommodation expenditure 2013/14 (£)|
|1||Glasgow Caledonian University||Professor Pamela Gillies||27,271|
|2||University of Exeter||Professor Steve Smith||20,330|
|3||University of Liverpool||Sir Howard Newby||12,573|
|4||Plymouth University||Professor Wendy Purcell||11,974|
|5||University of Bristol||Professor Eric Thomas||10,307|
The average spend on hotel accommodation for vice-chancellors during 2013/14 was £3,202.
Top five expenses claimants
|University||Vice-chancellor||Expenses 2013/14 (£)|
|1||Royal Central School of Speech and Drama||Professor Gavin Henderson||33,526|
|2||University of Aberdeen||Ian Diamond||23,910|
|3||Queen Mary University of London||Professor Simon Gaskell||22,703|
|4||University of Salford||Professor Martin Hall||22,592|
|5||Royal Holloway, University of London||Professor Paul Layzell||18,287|
The average spend on expenses for vice-chancellors during 2013/14 was £3,113.
|University||Vice-chancellor||Emoluments – all elements 2013/14 (£)|
|1||Nottingham Trent University||Professor Neil Gorman||623,000|
|2||London Metropolitan University||Professor Malcolm Gillies||453,000|
|3||University of Oxford||Professor Andrew Hamilton||442,000|
|4||London Business School||Professor Sir Andrew Likierman||419,000|
|5||The Open University||Martin Bean||412,000|
|6||University of Birmingham||Professor Sir David Eastwood||410,000|
|7||University of Exeter||Professor Steve Smith||400,000|
|8||University of Bath||Professor Glynis M Breakwell||395,000|
|9||London School of Economics||Professor Craig Calhoun||394,000|
|10||University of Surrey||Sir Christopher Snowden||392,000|
The average total emoluments for heads of institutions (including benefits in kind and pensions) in 2013/14 was £260,290
Biggest percentage pay increases
|University||Vice-chancellor||%age change 2012/13 to 2013/14||Emoluments – all elements 2013/14 (£)||Emoluments – all elements 2012/2013 (£)|
|1||Nottingham Trent University||Professor Neil Gorman||70.2||623,000||366,000|
|2||London Metropolitan University||Professor Malcolm Gillies||53.6||453,000||295,000|
|3||University of Portsmouth||Professor Graham Galbraith||19.8||271,558||217,909|
|4||Royal Academy of Music||Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood||18.0||251,737||206,341|
|5||University of Kent||Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow||16.2||265,000||222,000|
|6||Bath Spa University||Professor Christina Slade||15.7||299,000||252,000|
|7||Imperial College London||Professor Alice Gast||15.2||389,000||330,000|
|8||Royal Northern College of Music||Professor Linda Merrick||14.7||159,507||136,000|
|9||Cranfield University||Sir Peter Gregson||14.5||310,000||265,000|
|10||University of Exeter||Professor Steve Smith||14.5||400,000||342,000|
The average pay increase for university chancellors between 2012/13 and 2013/14 was 1.7%
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.