Soton managers set for showdown

February 7, 1997

GOVERNORS and managers at Southampton Institute are preparing for a showdown over calls in an independent report for "a different style of leadership".

David Leyland, the institute's director, has attacked parts of the report which criticise management style, despite a vote of support from governors for the report.

The findings of a Staff Communication Review conducted by Geoffrey Hall, former director of Brighton Polytechnic, at the request of the institute, were published last November.

Professor Hall concluded that communication was failing due to a climate of fear and management structure problems.

His report noted that staff "from most senior to the more junior" were not expressing views on academic matters or on institutional management due to "fear of the consequences of speaking out".

A statement from the institute this week said governors had adopted the report's recommendations, which include a call for "a different style of leadership", and were considering how they should be implemented.

But some governors are concerned about the director's confidential response to the report, recently circulated to them. This suggests criticisms of management style are beyond the remit of a staff communication review.

Malcolm Le Bas, an independent governor, said it had been decided that an open forum was needed "to get to the bottom of the problems".

The institute confirmed that, as part of the implementation process, there would be a meeting between governors and senior managers within a few weeks. Mr Le Bas said governors would not be content to ignore sections of the report.

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