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Universities: Pay

Question for Department for Education

UIN 261194, tabled on 6 June 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage pay restraint among university vice chancellors.

Answered on

12 June 2019

Universities are autonomous institutions and they are responsible for setting the pay of their staff, including vice-chancellors. However, students and taxpayers all contribute to our higher education system and rightly expect value for money. We want to see senior staff pay in universities that is fair and justifiable. The process for setting pay must be transparent.

The Office for Students (OfS) requires universities to publish full details in their financial statements of the total remuneration package of their vice chancellor, including bonuses, pension contributions, and other taxable benefits. Universities must also publish a justification for this remuneration package, and the pay multiple of the vice chancellor's remuneration compared with that of all other employees.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education’s February 2019 strategic guidance letter to the OfS reiterated that ‘high pay must be justified by high performance’. It further stated that ‘Where issues with senior staff pay lead to concerns over governance, the OfS should consider carrying out independent reviews of the adequacy and effectiveness of management and governance at providers and to require improvements, where necessary, to ensure that these arrangements are fit for purpose’.