HEFCE may probe Anglia allegations

June 12, 1998

Allegations of nepotism, bullying and mismanagement at Anglia Polytechnic University business school are expected to be investigated by auditors from the Higher Education Funding Council for England following a four-month investigation by The THES, writes Phil Baty.

HEFCE confirmed this week that it had received a complaint and an appeal for an investigation. A spokesman said that HEFCE would not comment on the case.

The allegations centre on Anglia Business School dean Hugh Jenkins and the appointment, performance and promotion of his son, Jonathan Jenkins, who is a lecturer in his father's management development division.

Despite a poor previous academic record and a string of complaints from staff and students about Mr Jenkins's teaching competence, he was awarded a permanent post before his probation period was over and was promoted twice.

His line manager, John Watts, who first raised the criticisms, was not fully consulted in the decisions.

When Mr Watts raised formal complaints last year, Professor Jenkins announced a restructure of the division, which would remove Mr Watts from a managerial role. In a letter to Mr Watts, Professor Jenkins clearly linked Mr Watts's whistleblowing and "personal hostility" with the decision to restructure. Mr Watts is suspended.

In February, the university said in a statement that an internal investigation found that there was "no foundation" to any of the complaints against the Jenkins.

But The THES has learnt that the internal report, never released, and rejected by staff who have criticised its narrow remit, did raise "a number of issues of internal control". It also acknowledged that "new matters" raised during inquiries were "not investigated".

The university has now declined to cooperate with The THES, and would not comment on the situation. As employees of the university, the Jenkins also have been advised not to comment.

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