Pay structure: national vs local

September 24, 1999

The Bett proposals fail to recognise the changing nature of higher education in the 21st century. There is no recognition of, or attempt to celebrate, its diversity.

Vested interests seem to have been at work; otherwise a sound and relevant approach to human resource management, reward and remuneration strategies might have emerged from Bett. The report, as Larry Bunt pointed out, focuses on a tired system of a national framework, strictures and injunctions, abandoned by most other serious organisations ten or more years ago.

Perhaps the truth is that these same vested interests steering Sir Michael Bett through the labyrinthine complexity of HE pay think that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will suddenly fall for the line that they have spun. More money into higher education in general and pay in particular is a laudable aim. The problem is that the approach adopted is out of date and already discredited elsewhere in the economy.

It is sad that a sector that prides itself on so much innovation in human resource management should take so little notice of the views of those people in that profession best placed to advise and support development of an effective and forward-looking approach to pay that might just sound a resonant note in Westminster.

David Mee Director of personnel, University of Central England in Birmingham

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