No way to run a University? (part 2)
The University of Leeds operates a system of internal budget payments that other Universities do not. Schools have to pay the University for the rooms they occupy, for example. So, in effect, the University pays the University for its own rooms. Following? Now, the University centrally decides how much each School will pay for certain types of room and space. If this charge then causes the School to go into deficit, or be one of the causes, then the School might be put into review, and staff might lose their jobs in order to make the appropriate ‘savings’.
This is rather like charging your partner for use of the family home kitchen, and then pointing out to them they have a financial problem that they need to address if that charge causes them to spend more than they have (i.e. money from one wallet to another in the same home).
Here is an example of space charges in the 2010 budgets (quoted university document here):
Space type 2: “This is space which will have a minimal use of the type of facilities that might normally be expected, such as heating, lighting, cleaning, telephone and data points. Typical examples are seminar rooms / classrooms / common rooms, archives, stores, etc.”
We would like now to show you photographs of such ‘type two’ space in one of the Schools currently under review by the University. The University classify these, for payment purposes, in the same category as “seminar rooms / classrooms / common rooms”. It has no heating, telephone or data points, and lighting is limited. As you will see, it is effectively uninhabitable. It nevertheless costs the School around £10,000 per annum. The School can only stop paying this – we understand – if they can convince another part of the University to adopt the space (any takers?). That’s money the University insists on extracting from a School, rather than releasing it for spending on, say, students’ education.