Dons rebel over onerous review

May 11, 2001

The Treasury-driven "transparency review" of universities' spending on teaching and research is facing mounting rebellion from lecturers.

Local branches of lecturers' union Natfhe are arguing that the review, which demands that lecturers fill in hourly work diaries, is too onerous and could represent an illegal addition to lecturers' contracts.

Objections to the burdens imposed by the transparency review and other forms of regulation will form part of a campaign against red tape launched next week by the Association of University Teachers. The AUT wants the Cabinet Office's Better Regulation Task Force to help slash bureaucracy.

The transparency review was designed to provide detailed costings of activity in universities as part of a government-led accountability drive.

It seeks to examine the balance between teaching and research amid claims of inadequate funding for research overheads and hidden cross-subsidies.

Academics are required to detail how much time they spend on: publicly funded teaching; privately funded teaching; publicly funded research; privately funded research; support activities and "other activities".

Natfhe members at Kingston University are refusing to cooperate, arguing that filling in timesheets represent a change to their contracts. Some have raised concerns about data protection and the Human Rights Act.

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