Northampton uni spent £1.2m on severance pay

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The University of Northampton spent more than £1 million on severance pay for staff during the last financial year, latest figures have shown.

Analysis of the university’s financial statement for 2011/12 shows a total of £1.19 million was spent on redundancy or retirement packages, which was nearly double the total of £652,000 in 2011.

The bulk of the university’s income came from a £34 million funding grant and nearly £50 million in tuition fees and education contracts, up from £46.8 million in 2011.

The statement shows the overall number of staff at the university has decreased by 95 from 1,140 in 2011 to 1,045 in 2012.

However, the figures show that overall staffing costs have still slightly increased from £40.41 million to £40.85 million.

The data, which covers the period from August 2011 to July 2012, shows the overall salary package of Professor Nick Petford, the vice-chancellor of the university, increased from £164,000 to £198,000 a year.

The accounts also revealed that another member of staff at the university was also paid a salary of more than £180,000.

Delia Heneghan, director of advancement and international relations, said the university had a vision to be a leading provider of higher education and the main focus of this strategy was to ensure the university achieves excellence in teaching, research and employability, as well as continuing to be financially robust.

She said: “As part of this strategy, the university spent £1.2million invested in a re-structuring process to ensure staff with the skills and expertise are in place to enable the university to realise this vision.”

The statement shows the university has spent more on books and periodicals, students visits and bursaries in the past year. IT costs have gone up from £1.9 million to £2.4 million.

But the biggest jump in spending was in consultancy fees as the university spent £1.3 million in 2011/12 compared to £224,000 in 2011 and also spent £1.6 million on invoiced staff, up from £1.1 million. ‘Other’ expenses increased from £3.3 million to £4.9 million.

A total of £12.5 million has been invested in building, infrastructure, equipment and technology at The University of Northampton during the last year.

A spokesman for the university said the high spend on consultancy fees could be explained by money related to the potential move to Waterside. In the accounts, a total of £569,000 is listed as being spent on a “feasibility study” on the campus move.

Delia Heneghan said: “The new Waterside campus will place us in the heart of the community making us much more accessible, central and visible. As part of the development of these plans, the university has appointed specialist consultants to advise on all areas of the development of the university campus.”