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June 8th, 2017:

Motion Passed at Congress: Use of consultants in HE – University of Reading

The Reading UCU Motion was passed at Congress 2017. Please see the final version below.

HE41  Use of consultants in HE – University of Reading

Conference notes a trend in university senior management to spend significant public funding on private sector consultancy firms, as evidenced by the £36m spend at Reading. These firms recommend the implementation of ready-made business solutions, inappropriate for the HE sector, which generate redundancies, de-skill the workforce and increase workload. Institutional expertise is ignored, devaluing the sector and demotivating staff. The HE sector should use its in-house expertise in order to achieve from its staff and arrive at recruitment, teaching, financial and other processes that buy-in are fit-for-purpose.

Conference calls on HEC to:

  1. investigate the increasing use of consultants in HE
  2. collect examples of recommendations that have already failed and been reversed
  3. investigate the additional stress caused to employees and the lowering of morale.

Conference further calls on HEC to:

  1. call on the National Audit Office and government to conduct value-for-money audits on consultancy spending across the HE sector.

Motion taken in parts.
Numbers 1-3 CARRIED
Bullet a. REMITTED

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE41A.1  Academic Related, Professional Staff Committee

In second sentence after ‘firms’, insert:  ‘utilise statistically suspect benchmarking methodologies and’.

At the end of point 1. insert before the semi-colon:

-‘for example: a) research which HEIs are using consultants eg. auditors, benchmarking and IT; b) Identify how much such institutions are spending on these consultancy services.’

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes a trend in university senior management to spend significant public funding on private sector consultancy firms, as evidenced by the £36m spend at Reading. These firms recommend the implementation of ready-made business solutions, inappropriate for the HE sector, which generate redundancies, de-skill the workforce and increase workload. Institutional expertise is ignored, devaluing the sector and demotivating staff. The HE sector should use its in-house expertise in order to achieve from its staff and arrive at recruitment, teaching, financial and other processes that buy-in are fit-for-purpose.

Conference calls on HEC to:

  1. investigate the increasing use of consultants in HE
  2. collect examples of recommendations that have already failed and been reversed
  3. investigate the additional stress caused to employees and the lowering of morale.

 

More details on Congress 2017 Motions can be found here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/8799/Higher-Education-Sector-Conference-2017#he12