More than 100 academics have criticised plans to cut professional services staff at City University London.
About 60 administrative posts are thought to be at risk as City tries to cut costs and improve delivery by introducing a single professional services team, rather than department-based administrative units.
City is midway through a review of administrative functions, which the University and College Union called a “savage attack on our professional services staff based on…the mantra ‘too many and too well-paid’ ”.
Unions also believe that the review, which aims to find £12 million in savings, is linked to the costs incurred from a push to hire top-rated research academics in time for next year’s research excellence framework.
A total of 110 academics from the university’s Cass Business School have now signed a letter to the university management that details their “great unhappiness about the changes being forced upon our professional services”.
“Cass has been able to retain great faculty and attract new ones in no small part because of its professional staff,” says the letter, sent on 23 May. “It does not make sense to invest heavily in the recruitment of top faculty whilst downgrading other services,” it adds.
The letter also warns that proposed reforms may harm the school’s ability to attract students if professional services staff are lost.
“Cass cannot recruit and retain increasing numbers of students in this economy without offering an outstanding service and without further investing in its brand,” it says.
By changing the administrative set-up that helped Cass “to punch above its weight, the university is effectively tying one hand behind our back”, it concludes.
David Bolton, City’s deputy vice-chancellor, said that it had started consulting with unions and professional services staff. “To minimise the impact of changes we will consider proposals for job share, part-time and flexible working and other working patterns,” he said.