Concerns over pay rises awarded to retiring vice-chancellors has heightened last week, after figures released by the University of Kent revealed that its former Vice-Chancellor was payed a final pay packet of £324,000.
Dame Julia Goodfellow, who left her role in July 2017 after 10 years in office at the university, was reported this week by the university’s annual accounts to have been paid a total remuneration of £324,000 in 2016-17, up by 16.1 per cent from £279,000 in 2015-16.
A spokesperson for the University said: “On 1 October 2016 Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow’s annual salary increased from £246,750 per annum to £265,000 per annum in line with the sector average.
“She also received an additional payment in lieu of employer pension contribution of £37,258 pa (increased from £34,692), giving a total of £302,258.
“The financial statements for 2016/17 show the total remuneration for Dame Julia Goodfellow for the period from 1 August 2016 to 31 July 2017, reflecting two months of payments at the earlier rate and 10 months at the later rate (Oct 16-July 17). The total remuneration during this time was £298,789, including the payment in lieu of employer pension contribution.”
The spokesman also said that the increase in pay was made up of an annual salary increase “in line with the [university] sector average” of just under £20,000, and a one-off bonus of £25,000 to reward her “remarkable leadership attributes”:
“In July 2017 she received a one-off bonus of £25k. The rationale for this was sustained high performance and a last year in office deemed ‘remarkable for the leadership attributes that had assisted the organisation and its staff to respond with optimism and vigour to the challenges the organisation confronted’.”
News of the final-year increase is likely to revive criticism of the generous arrangements for outgoing vice-chancellors and members of staff across UK Universities.
Back in December 2017, Dame Glynis Breakwell, vice chancellor of Bath University, was forced to step down following an outcry over her £468,000 pay package. And in January, students at Southampton University conducted a referendum over the pay of its Vice-Chancellor, Sir Christopher Snowden.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) in response to to the news has called for “far greater scrutiny” on the pay of University chancellors and staff.
“These latest revelations look like further evidence of one rule for the few at the top and another for everyone else
“Picking up massive pay hikes or bonuses as they retire tell the tale of people massively out of touch with reality on campus and in the wider world.”
The Committee of University Chairs, the representative body for the Chairs of UK Universities, published new guidance on the pay of vice-chancellors last week, in which the Committee warned that final year salaries “should not be inflated to boost pension benefits.”
Goodfellow was also criticised in the past, after it was reported by the UCU in 2016 that Goodfellow had racked up bills of more than £26,000 on business and first-class travel, which included being given university accommodation valued at £1.15 million at the time.
Alongside her work as Vice-Chancellor of Kent, Goodfellow previously worked as the President of Universities UK. She currently sits as Chair of the British Science Association.