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University will no longer be asking ex-Principal for £119,000 repayment

Following Sir Ian Diamond’s departure as Principal, the University was ordered to repay £119k to the Scottish Funding Council

By: Anttoni Numminen and Jeevan Bains

Professor Diamond, now head of the ONS, speaks at a government press conference

Former Principal Prof Sir Ian Diamond announced his retirement in 2017, however, his official 12-month notice period did not start until July 2018 when he had already left the post.

In February a subsequent investigation by the Scottish Funding Council ordered the University to pay back £119,000 of its £70m grant as the payment to Prof Diamond “amounted to a breach of its financial memorandum” with the institution.

Current Principal Professor George Boyne said yesterday in an interview with the BBC that the University would no longer be ‘pursuing’ Sir Ian for repayment of the £119,000 which it had asked the former Principal to repay in July.

The Gaudie asked Prof Boyne about the matter during a ‘Q and A’ session earlier this afternoon. The Principal said: “It would not be possible to pursue that repayment and therefore it is not sensible for us to take it any further [..] I believe it would be inappropriate to pursue it through a legal process”.

What actually happened?

For the 2017-18 financial year, Prof Diamond was paid over £601,000. This included a salary of £282,000, pension contributions of £30,000, and contractual notice period payment and related expenses amounting to £289,000 to cover his ‘gardening leave’ for the 2018-19 period.

The University of Aberdeen’s former principal was paid 15 times more than the average wage of its employees during the 2017-18 period.

An ensuing investigation by the Scottish Funding Council found in February 2020 that during the 2018-19 financial year “the University incurred the cost of two Principals” and questioned whether this was “value for money”.

The University of Aberdeen was ordered to pay back £119,000 to the SFC, and subsequently, the University asked Prof Diamond to pay back the same amount to cover the cost.

However, in an interview with BBC North East Scotland yesterday, Diamond’s successor Prof George Boyne said: “We've received no update on that matter, we assume the matter will be closed if we receive no further update.

"I can't say for sure whether we'll get a further update but we've no intention to pursue it."


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