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College of Law chief exec under fire for massive pay rise

8 June 2010

Professor Nigel Savage, chief executive of the College of Law, has received a massive 40 per cent pay rise, taking his wages to £440,000, the union Unite has said.

In a message to college lecturers seen by Solicitors Journal, the union said the pay of deputy chief executive Alan Humphreys had jumped by a third to £410,000.

Richard Munn, Unite regional representative, told staff in the newsletter that management pay at the College of Law had reached “truly breathtaking levels.”

He went on: “As for the college’s charitable status, the boss’s pay packet dwarfs that of all the chief executive officers of Oxfam, Save the Children and Guide Dogs for the Blind combined.

“Quite what students, most of whom pay over £9,000 for their courses, make of this, heaven only knows.

“It doesn’t stop there. Deputy chief executives might normally expect to get 70 per cent or so what the boss gets. Not so at the College of Law – here, the number two picked up £410,000, around 95 per cent of the top award, though a mere 33 per cent up from the previous year.”

Munn said the College of Law’s governors “felt the need to tip another one and a half million pounds into the trough for the next nine managers to fight over.”

College of Law accounts published in the last few days on the Charity Commission website confirm that the top earner’s wages rose last year from at least £310,000 to at least £440,000. Pay for the second highest earner rose by a similarly large amount, from at least £300,000 to £410,000.

The accounts put staff earnings of over £60,000 into bands of ten thousand pounds and do not identify individuals.

The number of managers being paid from £90,000 to £100,000 also went up last year, from three to seven, although the number being paid from £80,000 to £90,000 went down, from ten to seven.

The message from Unite continued: “At a time when everyone at the college needs to pull together, it is both shocking and disappointing to see how far removed from this ethos the senior management of the college really is.”

The union said it would be pushing for a pay settlement for lecturers “which is fair to staff and students alike.”

David Yates, chairman of the governors of the College of Law, said the rise in the pay of the chief and deputy chief executives was due not to an increase in basic salary, which stayed the same as the previous year, but to the award of bonuses based on performance targets.

Yates said the contribution of both men to the success of the college had allowed it to expand operations, protect existing jobs and create new ones, and deliver greater surpluses to fund charitable activities.

“The College of Law is a unique organisation which does not have access to either public funds, unlike universities, or private capital, unlike our major for-profit competitors,” he said. “Instead it has to win all of its income for both operating expenditure and investment solely through commercial activity.

“This brings with it exceptional challenges in terms of management and governance and the remuneration levels for its management team need to reflect this.

“The college’s governors receive independent advice on remuneration and incentive structures from Deloitte and this is benchmarked against comparable organisations, including our private sector competitors.”

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Procedures Charities