Lack of trust at Guildhall

March 31, 1995

An inquiry into London Guildhall University has warned that addressing the reasons for low morale is more important than debating whether the complaints underlying it are justified.

The inquiry was ordered in response to a staff survey last year pointing to widespead discontent.

The report, prepared by Stephen Jones, a former assistant provost of City of London Polytechnic, the university's predecessor, and Department for Education officials, was circulated to governors early this month and will be considered by every university committee next term. Roderick Floud, Provost of LGU will then draw up recommendations for action.

Professor Floud welcomed the report but said he did not agree with all the points. "It describes the problems and the different perceptions there are of them." It would be taken very seriously, he said.

The report says that Guildhall has operated under immense pressures for years - an accomodation crisis, two failed mergers, a huge expansion in student numbers and a sharp 1993 fall in part-time recruitment all contributed.

It says that cost-cutting, including voluntary severance programmes, has averted a substantial deficit by 1995/96, and that the credit accumulation scheme, subject of a separate report by the provost, is a major factor affecting staff morale.

Mr Jones, who received 98 written submissions, found that senior management had created a "more consciously managerial" style. Many staff felt this was characterised by one-way communication, exclusion and lack of trust. Management was seen as remote, hierachical and outdated in style. Support staff pointed to a "culture of blame" and had been demotivated by a regrading exercise.

Senior management should try to promote a strong corporate sense of purpose. This would involve trusting staff and giving them a stronger role in academic planning, the report said.

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