Pressure for back-office mergers?Publish By Jane B. Hatcher Updated 01/03/2012 1:27 pm in Opinion / no comments
TEU believes that the minister of tertiary education’s cryptic remarks last week about a possible merger of Canterbury’s tertiary institutions are most likely related to pressure he is putting on the three institutions to investigate sharing back-office functions, including payroll systems, office systems and student management systems.
Last week the three major Canterbury tertiary institutions appeared surprised at the minister’s merger musings, with Lincoln University’s vice-chancellor Prof. Roger Field telling the Christchurch Press no work had been done on a possible merger between Canterbury and Lincoln. The University of Canterbury’s vice-chancellor, Dr Rod Carr told the Press “we note the minister’s statement that he is not looking for mergers for mergers’ sake and we support that approach.”
However TEU’s national president Dr Sandra Grey now says it is likely the minister or his officials have told the three institutions to consider whether they can combine many of their non-academic functions into one region-wide office.
“We believe it is most likely that the minister is not focused on full mergers but on Canterbury’s three major tertiary institutions merging many of their administrative functions into a single entity while retaining separate educational academic faculties, education missions and ‘branding’.”
Dr Grey says administrative staff at the University of Canterbury, in particular, have already been through several rounds of destructive reviews and job losses.
“Further job ‘consolidation’ is unlikely to be good for Christchurch, either in terms of efficiency and quality for students, or in terms of employment morale at three of the city’s biggest employers.”