Fuzzy logic

April 26, 2012

The article "Sector shuts out external consultants in era of austerity" (5 April) cites Birmingham City University as having spent nothing on external consultants in the past three years. Featuring at the bottom of this particular league table causes us no concerns. However, our response had less to do with our actual expenditure and more to do with the fuzzy definitions used in Times Higher Education's Freedom of Information request.

On seeking clarification from THE of the meaning of "external consultants", we were informed that this meant: "people brought in to help existing staff with the running of the university...But it does not include consultants brought in to do jobs that a normal university would never maintain staff to do."

Setting aside the issue of what a "normal university" means, we reasoned that since we employ consultants only where we do not possess the expertise in-house, and such staff do not undertake the operational running of the university, our answer was zero.

We answered the exam question as put. It's what we teach all our students to do.

Christine Abbott, University secretary, Birmingham City University

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands