UEL gets rapped over staff 'neglect'

September 15, 2000

Quality watchdogs have criticised the University of East London for its "disturbing" neglect of staff development and training.

Limited resources have led the university to focus on other priorities and ignore important staffing issues, the Quality Assurance Agency said after an audit.

In an otherwise relatively positive report, the QAA team criticised the university for failing properly to monitor its human resources requirements: "The system for collating staff development and training needs had fallen into abeyance... Development needs and corporate training requirements (such as raising awareness of equal opportunities, or health and safety requirements at work) might be overlooked."

The QAA said that UEL did have an appraisal and development scheme, which was set up after extensive consultation. Its role was to coordinate the collection of data and set development policies but it was not allocated resources and so it fell into disuse.

The mechanism for ensuring that staff development policies were being adhered to "is apparently disregarded in some units and modified appreciably in others, without institutional consideration or approval of these deviations". The QAA recommended proper monitoring procedures.

The university also lacked "the data to enable it to monitor compliance with its appointments policy", the QAA said.

The QAA recognised it was a question of resources. The university had prioritised spending on IT, the library, teaching accommodation and a personal tutor system. "Consequently there has been a diminution in the resourcing of other areas", including the discontinuation of some key areas.

In general, the QAA said that UEL could be confident of the quality of its degrees. The university was praised for good practice in seven specific areas, including strong leadership for quality assurance matters from a quality assurance and enhancement committee.

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