DMU Vice Chancellor Got £270K Payout DEspite "Systemic" Failings

2 July 2019, 06:45 | Updated: 2 July 2019, 06:59

De Montfort University Leicester

The vice-chancellor of Leicester's De Montfort University, which had "significant and systemic" failings in governance, was given a £270,000 payout after his resignation.

Details of the award have been revealed after the higher education regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), concluded its investigation into the Leicester institution on Monday.

Dominic Shellard left his post in February before the OfS launched its formal probe after receiving information from the university and whistleblowers.

On Monday the OfS said: "Our investigation identified a number of issues which caused concern.

"We found weaknesses and failings in the university's management and governance arrangements which were significant and systemic.

"As a result of our investigation, the university has today published a statement and a detailed action plan, setting out how it has addressed these deficiencies, including actions it has already taken.

"Given the university's co-operation with the investigation, the action it has already taken to address our concerns, and its clear plan for future actions, we have not made any formal findings on this occasion.

"We have now closed our investigation. We will continue to monitor the university's progress to deliver the commitments in its action plan."

The university issued a statement saying that it recognised there had been failings, and committing to an action plan.

It said: "The University acknowledges that its governance was inadequate and that the Governing Body did not provide sufficient and robust oversight of the University's leadership, in particular the vice-chancellor.

"Following the Office for Students' own investigation, the University and the Office for Students have agreed a number of specific areas where the University's governance and internal control mechanisms require improvements to strengthen the University's compliance with the regulatory framework."

In an email sent to staff, the interim vice-chancellor, Andy Collop, said the board of governors "approved a payment in line with the former vice-chancellor's contractual entitlement, which stipulated a notice period of nine months.

"This equates to a payment of £270,000."

University and College Union acting general secretary, Paul Cottrell, said: "It is astounding that despite serious failures of leadership and governance by Professor Shellard, De Montfort University's governors still saw fit to award him a whopping £270,000 after his departure.

"UCU has repeatedly warned that a lack of accountability on senior pay and perks is damaging confidence in our universities.

"Institutions cannot continue to plead poverty on staff pay while rewarding their leaders so handsomely and with so little scrutiny.

"The time has come for proper transparency of pay and perks in higher education, and for staff and students to be given a seat at the top table."

Susan Lapworth, director of competition and registration at the OfS, said: "Ensuring that there are effective management and governance arrangements in all higher education providers is an essential component of the OfS's regulatory approach.

"It is in the interests of students and taxpayers that universities and colleges are well run and the OfS will use the full range of our enforcement powers where necessary to investigate and resolve similar compliance concerns in other universities and other higher education providers."