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While universities are autonomous institutions and responsible for setting the pay of their staff, they receive significant amounts of public funding and are rightly subject to public scrutiny.
Vice chancellor salaries must be justifiable and should not be excessive. The process for setting pay must be transparent. The government agrees with the recommendation made by the Committee of University Chairs (CUC) in its senior staff remuneration code that vice chancellors should not sit on the committee that sets their pay.
The government set up the Office for Students (OfS) to regulate the higher education sector and to ensure the sector is delivering real value for money. The OfS has said that universities should, as a minimum, be following the CUC senior staff remuneration code. Where issues with senior staff pay lead to concerns, the OfS has the power to carry out independent reviews to ensure that a provider’s governance arrangements are fit for purpose.