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New Liverpool University Vice-Chancellor's Trail of Sleaze

The Bristol Blogger | 08.07.2007 11:31 | Liverpool

University of the West of England (UWE) boss quites after "disquiet" over private contacts - but is being given a plum job and a six figure salary as Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool University! One rule for them and all that..

University of the West of England (UWE)'s Vice-Chancellor Sir Howard Newby is quitting the university, less than two years in to the job, after becoming embroiled in a major conflict of interest between the university and his private education business Carter and Carter. The episode is said to have caused “disquiet” among many on the university’s governing body.

Serious concerns were raised about Newby when it was revealed recently he had concluded a deal on UWE’s behalf with a private sector training company, Carter and Carter. Newby, however is a director of the company and was therefore effectively awarding himself a lucrative public sector contract! Questions have also been asked about his relationship to the university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Her name is Lady Sheila Newby!

Newby will not be walking away in disgrace however. He’s secured another plum job with a six figure salary as Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool University and a glowing thank you from UWE’s governing body. One rule for them and all that..

As far as The Blogger’s concerned The European City of Culture 2008 is welcome to the disreputable scumbag. What kind of knight of the realm and supposed hotshot academic is it that wouldn’t recognise a conflict of interest if it was boning him up the backside? Although it’s more likely, judging by Newby’s attitude and behaviour in general, that he’s yet another of these pompous establishment figures on-the-make who don’t think the same rules apply to them as to everyone else.

Newby leaves the university in a mess. In common with most high-flying public sector bosses these days, his one big idea was privatision which he has pursued with a vengeance (and a good deal of self-interest). This has been predictably combined with a series of cuts across the university in teaching staff and courses and has seen paying students’ class sizes increase and contact time with lecturers decrease.

Both the staff and student body at UWE have been becoming increasingly agitated under Newby’s rule and, no doubt, will not be missing him or his cost-cutting internal “restructuring” strategy. As for Newby’s big idea to turn UWE into a piece of jargon called a “knowledge exchange” that lies well and truly in tatters. The only exchange that’s gone on at UWE recently seems to be public cash into Newby’s private hands.

The episode also, once again, shows up the dire state of the media in Bristol. Despite Newby’s behaviour being reported in Private Eye and exclusively on the net by The Bristol Blogger, no local media outlet has seen fit to run the story or use their considerable resources to investigate further.

This comes just weeks after Bristol’s NUJ demanded a pay rise for Cancer journalists pompously proclaiming “We hold many of Bristol’s decision-makers accountable on a daily basis.”

Not in this case they didn’t. A local chief exec - on a six-figure salary courtesy of the tax payer - of one of Bristol’s largest institutions and biggest land owners with well documented Merchant Venturer connections awards his own company big money contracts and not a mention in the press? Dearie me. What’s that all about then? Surely the Cancer’s journalists weren’t too busy holding decision-makers accountable by typing out press releases from cancer charities to bother were they?

I think we should be told.

The Bristol Blogger
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