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No way to run a University? (part 2)

October 15, 2010

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.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Incoming Student permalink
    October 21, 2010 11:40 AM

    I’m coming to Leeds next year to do a BSc Accounting and Management in the Business School. Now, I don’t need to start that education to see that this form of internal market is preposterous and even irresponsible in a post-recessionary and possibly pre-recessionary (thanks to our new gov) climate. During the years of boom, I can see reasons why you might want such an internal market for space charging. But the only value during times of austerity must be to do with forcing the hand of the units you want to control, as this article suggests.

    And I certainly hope the classrooms I attend look better than this. Does your University SERIOUSLY make you pay for this dump as though it were a classroom? Shocking.

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