Friday, 6 February 2009

BD online: "London Met architecture department could be forced to cut staff"

'Building Design Online', reports:

London Met architecture department could be forced to cut staff

5 February, 2009

By Will Henley

London Metropolitan University could be forced into cutting staff from its renowned department of architecture after a financial blunder by the institution.

Robert Mull, head of the Department of Architecture and Spatial Design, this week refused to rule out cuts within his faculty following the mistake by senior management.

One in seven - 320 of the university’s 2,400 staff - face redundancy after it failed to properly declare student drop-out rates to the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

A letter distributed to staff last week revealed the council has demanded it be reimbursed the £50 million overpaid to the university.

Mull, who is also chairman of the Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture (Schosa) said: "In the current local and national economic situation no organisation can fully predict the future.”

He added that the department was set to expand its remit in the field of planning.

Trade union Unison is reported to believe that around 220 of the redundancies will come from support workers.

Mike Wilson, a lecturer in the department, urged the university to resist cutting from the architecture department: “What I’d like to know is how long did the university know there was a problem and why was something not done?” he said.

“They would be rather silly if they did [make cuts in the department]. It has one of the best reputations of the university.”

A university spokeswoman said: “It is too early to say what, if any, affect there will be in the Department of Architecture and Spatial Design.”