UCU asks for stricter accountability at university level
The University and College Union (UCU) is calling for the Scottish government to implement stricter legislation to ensure governance and accountability at university level. They argue that the code of governance, which Glasgow University and other Scottish institutions, which came into effect this month, does not go far enough to ensuring accountability and transparency at the university level.
The UCU are stating that there is ‘unfinished business’ with regards to accountability and transparency at the top level of decision-making and the UCU is questioning about how big decisions are made at university level.
Mary Senior, UCU Scotland Official, commented on the issue with the code of governance, stating, ‘The governance of our universities should reflect both the universities themselves and also the wider communities in which they sit. Only this will properly allow universities to be responsive to those communities. We’ve seen too many examples of managerial decisions being taken in secret, being pushed through without proper scrutiny or decisions on senior managers’ pay taken by senior managers themselves to believe that the current system is sustainable. Professor von Prondzynski’s report on governance made a series of recommendations some of which – including more equal gender representation and student and staff representation - the universities themselves chose to ignore when putting in place their own code of governance. UCU call for the full range of recommendations from the von Prondzynski report to be implemented.’
The Glasgow Guardian reported last year that both the UCU and the SRC were concerned that the code of governance didn’t go far enough to ensure accountability and transparency in the university sector, and the SRC in particular commented on how the recommendations that they issued when meeting with the Good Governance Steering Group Advisor in December 2012 were ignored in the published draft Code of Governance.
When asked by the Glasgow Guardian about the UCU position with regards to the code, the University could not comment. However, a spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said,
“The University of Glasgow recognizes the important contribution made by staff, students and other stakeholders in supporting a transparent and inclusive model of governance, and we are committed to an ongoing and continuous review in this area.”
They went onto state that, “the University welcomed the recommendations of the Code at the time of publication and since then we have been taking steps to ensure that we adhere to all recommended principles of transparency and inclusion where possible.”