Lord Adonis probes university governors on their approach to top pay

By 21.08.17BlogAugust 28th, 2020No Comments

Andrew (Lord) Adonis is keeping the pressure up on the universities sector as he questions some excessive vice-chancellor and other top salaries. Here is the text of a letter he has just sent out.


Dear Chair

I would be grateful if you could meet a request for information. The Higher Education Council for England’s ‘Memorandum of Assurance and Accountability between HEFCE and Institutions’, which sets out the conditions for the public funding of universities, states that university governing bodies must ensure that their expenditure ‘delivers its charitable purpose for public benefit’ (p8).

The further guidance from HEFCE on the remuneration of senior staff (HEFCE Circular 17/2017) notes ‘the significant student and public interest’ in the remuneration of vice-chancellors and senior staff and advises you and fellow trustees to ‘consider remuneration in the context of charity law – namely the obligation for trustees to use charity funds and assets only to further their charitable purposes.’ It advises you, specifically, to ‘have regard to the Good Pay Guide for Charities and Social Enterprises’ issued by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.

The ‘Good Pay Guide’ notes that ‘the charity sector is notable for relative equality between its highest and lowest paid employees,’ and advises that ‘a clear policy on proportionate pay will be useful to trustees.’ I would be grateful if you could supply me with a copy of your policy on proportionate pay, and explain to me how you have implemented this policy to meet the advice and requirements of the Charity Commission?

If you do not have a formal policy on proportionate pay, I would be grateful for a statement of how you have in any event met the guidance and requirements of the Charity Commission. I should be grateful for your response by September 10th as I intend to submit all responses to the Charity Commission on that date pursuant to their consideration of the charitable status of universities in respect of the remuneration of senior staff.

Yours sincerely,

(signed) Andrew Adonis