A credit agency warned King’s College London that cost savings through staff cuts could be “quite difficult” following a spate of redundancies five years ago.
The report, published in July 2013, has angered unions, who are now questioning why the institution is implementing a restructuring process that will lead to job losses.
But Kings said it is “not correct to suggest” the college ignored the credit agency warning.
At least 60 jobs in the schools of medicine and biomedical sciences and at the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings are at risk in a move designed to reduce staffing costs.
A report on the financial health of the institution by credit agency Standard and Poor’s was published in July 2013. It said: “Further staff-cost curtailment will be quite difficult, in our opinion, as King’s has already decreased costs since 2008-2009 and pressure to maintain its academic and non-academic services will weigh on its ability to cut costs further.”
The University and College Union claims the report suggests that more job losses would threaten the quality of courses, and damage the university’s reputation and income.
UCU regional official Barry Jones said: “The loss of more academics will affect the quality of courses at King’s College and damage its very strong reputation, which is a key currency in the developing higher education market.”
A statement from King’s in response to the UCU’s comments said: “The rating report from Standard and Poor’s, which dates from last year, simply acknowledges the challenge for academic institutions that reducing staff costs always needs to be balanced against quality considerations.”
It added: “We have discussed our financial prospects more recently with Standard and Poor’s, and whilst we have yet to receive the more up to date 2014 rating review, we believe the rating agency is entirely supportive of this measured approach.
“Our review of the health schools is part of a range of actions to improve academic and financial performance, which includes income generation, productivity and efficiency improvement and revisiting our capital plans.”