November 24, 2008

Thank you for nothing...

Dear Mr XXXX

Thank you for your e-mail of XXXX, addressed to XXXX and copied to Bill Rammell, about the bullying of academics in Higher Education (HE). I do hope that you understand that due to the large amount of correspondence that Ministers receive they are, unfortunately, unable to answer all letters and e-mails personally. I have been asked to respond on this occasion.

I can assure you that the Government abhors any form of bullying in education and we would expect that HE institutions will have policies and procedures in place to address any allegations of this type of behaviour.

As you will be aware, universities are autonomous bodies who are responsible for determining their own administrative and academic affairs, including ensuring that their staff contracts and conditions of service comply with the law. The Department has no remit over staffing matters in HE. Staff will enjoy the protection of their contract of employment which will be drawn up in accordance with the general law and any specific provisions in the University’s Articles of Government.

As Government Ministers cannot be arbiters in staffing disputes between HE employers and their staff, I would suggest that you pursue your complaint with the University. I would also recommend that if you are a member of a HE union, you seek their advice, or legal advice on this matter if you feel that the University has not fulfilled its contractual obligations with regard to your employment.

I would hope that in your particular circumstances your difficult situation could be resolved to the satisfaction of the parties involved.

Yours sincerely

Department for Education and Skills

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The question I would ask after my experiences in a prestigious research university is whether the public would agree that universities should continue to be autonomous bodies?

I would suggest a public enquiry... as a growing body of research and surveys (both internal and external) are raising very serious concerns about the state of affairs in our universities... with regard to working practices...

...there is a feeling that things are getting out of control...

Aphra Behn