The recovery plan that led to the current BEP round is founded on three key planks:
· Success in Clearing
· Job reduction through restructuring
· Overseas student growth
It didn’t take a crystal ball to recognise at the very earliest stage that our performance at Clearing could not be allowed to fail, and that regardless of actual performance there would be “good news” to tell. Our belief was that all possible contingencies would be brought to bear to ensure that this was the case. To do otherwise would discredit the whole plan.
Fast forward to Clearing “post flurry” and those prophecies are looking pretty accurate.
The VC is keen to trumpet our better than expected performance, even though it is below “more realistic and achievable” targets. Outcomes are “so encouraging” that the VC is prepared to authorise the release of financial contingency to secure jobs. There is however precious little evidence to support this bullish announcement.
Saving jobs is of course welcome, but we remain concerned that unions were expressly advised that the budget contingency was necessary to cover one of a number of eventualities (increased pension payments and salaries being the others), but that there was not sufficient to cover them all.
One has to wonder what will happen when the inevitable increases in pension contributions and salaries emerge – now where IS that crystal ball??