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University spent over £20k on Senior Governor recruitment process

Private company Saxton Bampfylde was outsourced to conduct recruitment and advertising

By: Anttoni James Numminen

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay.

The University of Aberdeen paid Saxton Bampfylde just over £20,000 for recruitment and advertising of the position of Senior Governor, it can be revealed.

Saxton Bampfylde, an “executive consultancy firm” based in London and Edinburgh describes itself as “the leading search and leadership advisory firm for values.”

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by The Gaudie revealed that for “advertising of the vacancy” Saxton Bampfylde charged £2,762 while “recruitment/search for candidates” cost the University £18,000. Both sums exclude VAT.

Image: Julie Ashworth. Courtesy of UoA

Following the recruitment process and a campus-wide election, Julie Ashworth was elected to the position of Senior Governor in May. The election had a turnout of 5.74%.

The Senior Governor has one of the most senior roles within the University, with responsibility for leading the Court (the University’s governing body), as well as sitting on various committees.

Answering the FoI request, the University highlighted that promotion of the position “had to meet the requirements of the Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act for the vacancy to be advertised widely” while also seeking “a diversity of applicants”.

To that end, the University says it “targeted some specific paid for diversity focused media channels, such as the Diversity Network’s sites (diversityjobsite; ethnicjobsite; asian jobsite; lgbtqequality jobsite; disability jobsite and overlooked talent) and Women on Boards.”

Speaking to The Gaudie, a University spokesperson said they were “delighted” with the outcome of the recruitment process and the appointment of Ashworth as Senior Governor.

“The process has also provided an opportunity to connect with a wide range of individuals who wish to help the University deliver our purpose”, continued the spokesperson.

The University added that “for roles where normal advertising processes are likely to generate a limited pool of applicants” the use of recruitment consultants “add value” and “leverage efficiency savings”.

“To ensure fairness and transparency, all applications for the role of Senior Governor were co-ordinated through the recruitment consultants.”

It appears this is neither the first nor the last time the University has outsourced its recruitment to Saxton Bampfylde.

Currently advertised on its website is the role of Vice-Principal Regional Engagement & Regional Recovery at UoA, currently held by Professor Richard Wells. This is part of the University’s “re-alignment of Vice-Principals portfolios”, it says.

It appears that previously the University has also advertised the positions of at least University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer in early 2020, with Tracey Slaven appointed later in the year. Recent recruitment for the University’s court has also been conducted via the firm as has recruitment for the position of Vice-Principal (Student Recruitment) in 2018.


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